On the eve of Australia’s Ashes campaign, World Cup final hero James Faulkner has been charged with drink driving during his current stint with English county side Lancashire.
Faulkner, man of the match in Australia’s World Cup triumph last March but who is not part of the current 17-man Test squad, recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.10, almost three times the legal limit for driving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of 0.035.
Pat Howard speaks to media following Faulkner's charge
Under the latest UK drink driving laws, any found guilty of ‘driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink’ could face six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a driving ban for at least one year (which can be increased to three years if convicted twice in the space of 10 years).
Faulkner has been charged by the Greater Manchester Police and released on bail, and will front court in Manchester on July 21, the day after the scheduled end to the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
In addition, the 25-year-old Tasmanian faces charges under Cricket Australia’s Code of Behaviour for ‘conduct that is unbecoming of a representative or official and harmful to the interests of cricket’.
Faulkner, who was expected to be part of the Australia squad that will contest the ODI Series that follows the five Ashes Tests in the UK, has issued a public apology.
“I can't excuse my actions and understand that I have let people down,” he said.
“My decision to drive was an error in judgement.
“I apologise unreservedly and accept any penalty handed to me by Cricket Australia and the relevant authorities.”
Cricket Australia Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard said: “I have made contact with James to understand the facts of the matter.
“It is clear that he made a very poor decision to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking and that decision had clear potential to cause serious harm to him and others.
“It is also clear that he is very disappointed and embarrassed by his actions given his position as a role model to young people.
“This is a very real wake-up call for James and all other Australian cricketers around the importance of responsible decision making.
“I have expressed my extreme disappointment and have informed him of the consequences under English Law and Cricket Australia’s own regulations.”
Lancashire County Cricket Club has also confirmed that Faulkner will not be selected for tonight’s upcoming NatWest T20 Blast match against Yorkshire Vikings at Old Trafford.
The club has confirmed that it will work with, and under the direction of, Cricket Australia over coming days as it considers any additional measures that are deemed to be appropriate.
Lancashire pointed out that the conduct and standards of contracted players, both domestic and international, are consistent with those mandated by Cricket Australia.