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Let’s not be elite about honesty: Brearley

Mike Brearley.

Mike Brearley.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Feels ball-tampering scandal blew up because of Australian public’s reaction

Elite honesty. That’s the in-thing in the Australian cricket fraternity in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa that resulted in three Aussies, including then captain Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner, being suspended from top-flight cricket for a year.

No wonder then that days ahead of India’s much sought-after tour down under, Australian cricketers, rather than indulging in pressure tactics on Virat Kohli and Co., appear to be trying their best to stick to being honest on the field.

Former England captain Mike Brearley still cannot come to terms with the meaning of elite honesty.

“What does it mean? That’s what Australian cricket is supposed to be: elitely honest. That’s expecting a lot,” Brearley told The Hindu on Sunday.

“You do want straightforwardness in honesty, but let’s not be elite about it. Let’s just say ordinary honesty will be good and straightforwardness. I mean it’s not a wick rich tea party, a cricket match, you don’t expect to not say anything for the whole day.”

Brearley, considered one of the finest cricket captains, was in the city to attend a panel discussion during the Tata LitFest. The genius skipper feels the ball-tampering scandal blew up because of the reaction of the Australian public.

Disillusioned

“The Australian public was disillusioned with their team, not just over that, that was the last straw. They were disillusioned because they thought that the Australian team were not elite honest, but they weren’t ordinarily honest,” said Brearley, whose latest book titled On Cricket: A Portrait of the Game has recently been published.

The septuagenarian, though, contradicts the view of a section of Australian cricket fraternity, primarily the Players’ Association, that Smith and Warner’s suspension should be revoked to make them available for the India series.

His attitude on the field is terrific, but like everything else, if it goes too far, it might become difficult: Brearly’s assesment of Kohli’s style of functioning

“I know there have been talks, that’s because people were so outraged when it happened and they were very angry and wanted punitive action.

“Once they saw these people were distraught by it and that it was not quite such a big thing they felt. I think they then felt bad about it and didn’t want to be so tough,” he said.

“I think that’s true about many situations in life. I think they probably should serve their time. Once the decision has been made, you should do it but then they should be allowed back and given a fresh start. That’s what I think.”

Raising eyebrows

Brearley’s assessment of Kohli’s style of captaincy leaning towards possibly being autocratic during India’s series in England had raised eyebrows. The veteran captain wasn’t as harsh, but explained the dangers of a character like Kohli leading a high-profile team.

“I said basically his attitude on the field is terrific, but like everything else, if it goes too far, it might become difficult.

“If he expects too much of people and if he shows his disappointment in them too strongly, then it might put people off and they won’t be such good members of the team.

“They might be more anxious, more intense, more uptight. I have a lot of admiration for him,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 5:47:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/lets-not-be-elite-about-honesty-brearley/article25532671.ece

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