Clarke and Kohler-cadmore dropped by England Lions
Young batsmen axed from India tour by ECB Pair involved in rape trial Whatsapp group
Two of English cricket’s most promising young players have been stood down for the England Lions tour to India that leaves today.
Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-cadmore were due to leave today with the England Lions but Telegraph Sport understands they have been told to stay at home after the England and Wales Cricket Board learned of their involvement in a Whatsapp group that was one of the main planks of evidence in the rape trial of Worcestershire cricketer Alex Hepburn.
Hepburn, 23, is facing the prospect of retrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict yesterday on two counts of rape after a week-long case at Worcester Crown Court. The Crown Prosecution Service has two weeks to decide.
The court was told evidence on Hepburn’s phone included a Whatsapp group recording details of women its members slept with. The chat mentioned “freshies” and “reheats” referring to either women they had slept with before or not.
According to the prosecution, the “rules” of the group included every “freshie” had to be rated out of 10, with the winner earning bragging rights and a free night out paid by the other two. Hepburn was accused of raping a woman in a dark bedroom shortly after she had sex with Clarke. The woman said she thought she was still in bed with Clarke when she woke to find Hepburn performing a sex act on her.
Clarke was arrested but released without charge. Kohler-cadmore was not present when the alleged rape happened and was not arrested.
Hepburn posted rules of the game five days before the alleged rape took place. In his summing up, Judge Jim Tindal said: “It was effectively a competition – and I regret to use this word but it seems to be accurate – to ‘collect’ as many sexual conquests as possible. It’s about ‘collecting’ new girls – to them, ‘freshies’, as they put it.”
The prosecution alleged Hepburn was motivated by the Whatsapp game with Clarke and Kohler-cadmore.
The fallout from the allegations about Hepburn’s behaviour has already cost Steve Rhodes his job as director of cricket at Worcestershire. He was sacked last January for delaying telling the club’s board about Hepburn’s arrest.
During that period, Hepburn played Twenty20 cricket for Worcestershire and was offered a new one-year contract. Rhodes was due to coach the England Lions that winter and the under-19s but lost both positions after his sacking. He is now the coach of Bangladesh.
Clarke is rated as one of the most talented young batsmen in the country and, given England’s top order problems, could easily come into contention. Kohler-cadmore may break into England’s whiteball team if there is a turnover of personnel after the World Cup.
In addition to being dropped from the tour, the pair could face ECB disciplinary action.
Stood down: Joe Clarke, 22 (left), and Tom Kohler-cadmore, 24