Former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has shared some heart-warming and deeply personal insights for Tim Paine, who is gearing up to take up the leadership role against South Africa in the fourth and final Test at Johannesburg.
Cricket Australia on Wednesday (March 28) announced a severe punishment on the convicted trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their involvement in the ball-tampering controversy. CA banned skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner for 12 months, while Bancroft was handed a 9-month suspension from international cricket.
"I'd sit down and maybe get the group of players that's going to go out on that field (against South Africa at Johannesburg on Friday) to express, if they can recall, two things," Gilchrist told Melbourne radio station SEN when asked to offer some advice to newly appointed skipper Tim Paine.
"(Firstly) what made them play their first game of cricket, what it felt like, what was the buzz? Was it the ball hitting the middle of the bat, the ball going past the outside edge and hitting the off-stump? And then maybe also ask them what it felt like when they received the green piece of fabric (Baggy Green cap) that has the coat of arms on it, and get them to articulate that and remind each other of why they started and what it felt like to represent your country.
"They've just got to bottle that and jam that right deep down inside their heart, and not let that go. And just let them know that if ever they do need to make a decision, to run that decision by that little bottle you have sitting down inside your heart and let it be the barometer as to whether it's a good decision or a bad decision," he added.
Cricket Australia has also stated that each player will have to complete 100 hours of community service before being considered for future selection. While Smith and Bancroft will have to wait two years before they are considered for leadership roles, Warner will never again be considered for captaincy as he was found to be the instigator of the plan.
When asked to comment on the ball-tampering controversy that led to such drastic changes within the team, Gilly termed it as a ‘very foolish’ decision on the involved players’ part.
"These guys have made very, very foolish – I can't say naïve (decisions) because two of them are very experienced cricketers, and are leaders. Bancroft is a bit newer to the (international) scene, but I have no doubt he knew what the rules were and knew he was taking on a pretty dodgy road in doing so,” Gilchrist said.
"Darren Lehmann – I'm talking about one of my very, very closest friends here – has come out and said that they (the Australia men's team) need to change. He's realised that attack-dog mentality and the manner with which they are going about the game has got to a boiling point, and they must change.
"I totally think that's right. I think it has got out of control. It seems – and I want to stress that in any quotes taken out of this – it seems David Warner has taken on too much of a reign with his personality and the way he plays it, and that's controlled the manner in which the team has gone. It's had a big effect in this outcome," he explained.
In addition to imposing the penalties on players, Cricket Australia also announced that it will conduct an independent review into the conduct and culture of Australia's professional men's teams with details of that process yet to be finalised.
"I think that in the modern game, there's an element of high performance that has gone mad. I don't like the term particularly,” Gilly opined.
"It's not just cricket – this is across all sport – we want to fast-track our talent and … maybe this is where that expectation is coming from for quick results and success. Given the money and investment going into it, and for the money they (players) are earning, we absolutely expect success and high standards, so the two do collide eventually.
"I'm not sure our system in cricket, a high-performance system, right from the moment these guys enter … is allowing them the chance to grow and develop and evolve at a natural pace, and learn the knocks and the ups and downs and the decision-making,” he concluded.