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Gary Ballance: I don’t regret topless nightclub incident

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Speaking on the Yorkshire Cricket: Covers Off podcast, Gary Ballance discussed an infamous incident during his first stint in the England Test side, when he was pictured with his shirt off in a Nottingham nightclub.

The night out in question happened after England drew the first Test against India at Trent Bridge in the 2014 series between the sides, with Ballance quoted as saying he was “absolutely f***ed” and that he told fans in Pandora’s Box “I’m not a cricketer tonight. I’m a drunken b*****d” by the Daily Mail.

In a humorous retelling of the events, Ballance, who hasn’t played for England since 2017, said he felt his bowling success justified his celebrations, and that taking his shirt off was caused as much by the weather as by his inebriated state.

“It was obviously the middle of the summer,” he said. “I think in 2014 we were going through a heatwave in the UK. We’d just finished a Test match in Nottingham and it was going out to a boring draw, so Cooky [England captain Alastair Cook] said, ‘Would you like an over?’ So I bowled an over, I bowled a maiden, so I thought it was alright to go and celebrate that night.

“And like I said, because it was so warm, to cool down I took my top off, and unfortunately for me there was someone with a camera phone who got a few pics of me. I thought I was quite generous giving out a few jaegers and a few days later I was in the paper with no top on showing my six pack, or lack of.”

However, while he was taken aside for some advice by the coach and captain, Ballance says he doesn’t regret the incident.

“I genuinely don’t regret it,” he said. “For a day it was a bit embarrassing, and the coach, Pete Moores, took me to one side. He didn’t really tell me off, but he had a bit of a word with me saying ‘you probably shouldn’t be doing that’, but he kind of smiled and said ‘just make sure you learn from it’. The same with Alastair Cook, he just said ‘you’ve got to be careful’ but had a smile about it. I was worried about what my parents would think. My mum was a bit disappointed, but my dad gave me a high-five, slapped me on the back and said let’s go for a drink.”

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