England coach Brendon McCullum sees grey area in spirit of cricket debate

Brendon McCullum says there are grey areas when it comes to playing in the spirit of the game.

Brendon McCullum says there are grey areas when it comes to playing in the spirit of the game. Photo: Getty

England coach Brendon McCullum insists he has no hard feelings with Australia over the Jonny Bairstow stumping, but believes grey areas remain around the spirit of cricket.

McCullum was among Australia’s harshest critics after the Bairstow stumping on the final day at Lord’s, famously stating post-series drinks were off and Australia would have to live with their decision.

The threat of no post-series drinks almost turned into a reality on Monday night when Australia believed they had been brushed by England at The Oval, before the hosts claimed a misunderstanding and the teams meeting later in a nightclub.

But with the series now over and drawn 2-2, McCullum still believes Australia may one day wish they acted differently.

The former New Zealand wicketkeeper is adamant his criticism of Australia had been misconstrued last month and he was not attacking the players.

Instead, the 41-year-old said he was speaking from his own experience at the time in stating the tourists may one day want their time back.

McCullum famously ran out two players in his own Test career while they were celebrating milestones, with footage of those moments widely spread since Carey’s stumping of Bairstow.

“What I said was I have made mistakes in the past and when you are younger, maybe you don’t quite understand some of those decisions you make,” McCullum said.

“I look back with regret on some of them, and I put my hand up and say that. That’s what I was challenging (Australia to do).

“But in the end everyone is entitled to do what they want. There is no right or wrong in that.

“That is the grey areas around the spirit of cricket.

“I guess I know with the benefit of time what I would have done in that situation and they are entitled to do what they want.”

Despite the furore, McCullum said he still had great respect for Australia’s players after previously working with Pat Cummins in the IPL and playing alongside others for NSW.

“I definitely don’t think less of Pat,” McCullum said.

“I have had the pleasure to coach Pat over in the IPL, he is a champion fella. He has done an amazing job with the captaincy and the Australian team.

“I consider him one of my mates as well.”

McCullum also believes England’s effort to draw the series at 2-2 after losing the first two Tests vindicated his team’s all-out attacking style.

“The most pleasing aspect was when we were under the most pressure at 2-0 down, we stayed true to that,” McCullum said.

“For us that is our best chance of winning.”


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