Clarke and Kohler-cad­more dropped by Eng­land Lions

Young bats­men axed from In­dia tour by ECB Pair in­volved in rape trial What­sapp group

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Nick Hoult CRICKET NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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

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