Brendon Maccullum Mike Brearley Australia cricket Sporting bowling Brendon Maccullum Mike Brearley Australia

‘Can the two selves help each other?’ Mike Brearley on Bazball, Test cricket and psychoanalysis

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‘A nything can happen,” Mike Brearley says as, at the age of 81, he leans forward in anticipation of the sporting event of the summer.

The Ashes are coming and, 70 years since he spent a shiny sixpence on a book of England-Australia Test scores dating back to the 1870s, Brearley seems more intrigued by this new series than any other.

As he considers whether the sense of jeopardy and joy at the heart of England’s Test match resurgence will succeed against a relentless Australia, Brearley smiles helplessly. “I don’t know whether it will work,” he says of England’s bold aggression under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes. “Like everyone else, I’m fascinated to see what happens with Benbuzz.” Brearley looks at me quizzically.“Is it called Benbuzz?” he asks in his gentlemanly way.

I remind him that Bazball is the buzzword for the riveting Test cricket which England, under McCullum as coach and Stokes as captain, have developed over the past year.

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