Brendon McCullum says Australia will have to ‘live with’ the decision not to recall Jonny Bairstow
Brendon McCullum believes Australia will have to ‘live with’ their decision not to recall Jonny Bairstow after his controversial stumping at Lord’s – and says England can channel their frustration into making history by coming back from 2-0 to win the Ashes to recapture.
The third Test of an increasingly tricky series begins at Headingley on Thursday, with Australian coach Andrew McDonald saying he was ‘disappointed’ by McCullum’s reaction after Sunday’s second Test ended in a run of 43 for the tourists.
Asked if he thought Bairstow’s dismissal – stunned by Alex Carey after he left his crease at the end of an over before the umpires ruled the ball dead – would tarnish the spirit between the teams, England’s head coach replied: ” I imagine it will. affect, I think it should. In the end they made a play, they have to live with that. We would have made another play, but that’s life.
“We believe we can come back in this series. There are times when as a coach you need to reduce your emotions because then it will boil over and you can make bad decisions. And there are times when you let emotion go, because it will encourage unity.
Brendon McCullum (right) has said Australia will have to ‘live with’ their decision not to recall Jonny Bairstow following Sunday’s controversial sacking at Lords
Bairstow (right) was driven out by Alex Carey (back left) after the England wicket-keeper batsman ran out of his crease at the end of an over
McCullum admitted that Bairstow was out by the letter of the law, but suggested his team would have made a “different game” and remembered Bairstow if they were in Pat Cummins (front) shoes.
“That’s what I felt this emotion did for the side. I looked around the group and the guys were a little upset. If that helps us win those key moments in the next Test then I’m all for it.’
McCullum admitted that Bairstow was out according to the letter of the law, but doubted his firing was in the spirit of the game.
“With the benefit of time and maturity as a player, you understand how important the spirit of the game is and make decisions that you sometimes look back on and say, ‘Did I get that right?’
“Technically it was over. I just doubt that Jonny wasn’t planning on running. He felt that the referees had hinted that it was “over”, and the evidence more or less supports that. It’s incredibly disappointing because he’s such a great player in chases too. You always look at things like that and think, geez, what could have been?’
McCullum has been accused of hypocrisy, particularly in Australia, following his own involvement in two controversial run-outs during his playing days with New Zealand.
At Bulawayo in August 2005, he trailed Zimbabwe No. 11 Chris Mpofu after leaving his crease to congratulate teammate Blessing Mahwire on his maiden Test fifty. Then, in December 2006, he did the same with Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan, who came to shake hands with centurion Kumar Sangakkara. In both cases, the ball was not dead, although McCullum has since admitted regret for his actions.
“I apologized to Murali during my Cowdrey lecture,” he said. “When I was a younger man I didn’t quite understand the meaning of the spirit of the game. It is the defining point of the game as compared to others. We’ll see, but over time I get the feeling it could have an effect [Australia].’
“In the end they won the test match and got fair play. It’s just a shame that when you’ve got millions of people around the world, and you’ve got a full house here at Lord’s, that’s probably going to be the most talked about aspect in the next few days. ‘
While Australia was still furious at the treatment their players received from some MCC members in the pavilion, McDonald defended Carey’s actions. “There is no doubt that when a player leaves their crease at certain times, you take that opportunity.
‘It’s like a player running across the wicket to Nathan Lyon – does he take the opportunity to fire a ball down the leg side because he’s leaving his crease? You see a run-out opportunity, you throw to the bowler’s end.’
McCullum believes the closeness of the first two Tests (at Edgbaston his team lost by two wickets) means England can match the 1936-37 Australians and win from 2-0.
“Three-two has a nice sound,” he said. “We need to polish some areas where the game has been on the cutting edge and we haven’t been able to catch it. We knew it was going to be exciting getting into this series and those moments were going to be there. If we can do that, there’s no reason we can’t bounce back.”
If that meant criticizing England’s headstrong first innings batting at Lord’s, where Ollie Pope, Ben Duckett and Joe Root fell in quick succession on the short ball, then McCullum stopped short of saying his players were wrong .
“The way we try to be clear in our thinking and believe in our decisions, and immerse ourselves in them, is what we believe in. There will be times when it doesn’t work and we will be criticized. That’s just the nature of playing at the top level.’
Meanwhile, England have yet to decide on Pope’s involvement with Headingley after he underwent a scan on Monday of the right shoulder he injured on the pitch at Lord’s. If ruled out, Essex’s Dan Lawrence could make his Ashes debut.