Cricket: England players to bear Brearley in mind

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The Independent Online
Mike Brearley, the former England captain, is preparing to put the current international crop of players in the best frame of mind for their Ashes challenge this summer.

Brearley, now 54, practises as a psychoanalyst and is being seen as a vital part of England's preparations for the visit of the Australians this summer. He is being employed, on a casual basis, by the England and Wales Cricket Board, who are keen to use his professional skills and experience in cricket.

One of Brearley's tasks will be to help deal with players' personal problems that they may feel unable to discuss with the team management. Brearley yesterday confirmed he had been called in by the ECB but would not expand on his role.

"Mike is now a psychoanalyst by trade and if we feel he can be of any assistance to us he will always be on hand," an ECB spokeswoman said. "He is not being hired officially by us but he is always happy for us to call on him." Brearley, who was an excellent motivator of players during his days as England captain, trained as a psychologist during his career and taught philosophy at the University of California and Newcastle University.

David Lloyd, the England coach, confirmed that Brearley would become part of the set-up for the Ashes series when he returned from New Zealand yesterday with the rest of the England squad.

Arriving at Heathrow Airport, Lloyd said: "Mike won't help with preparations in terms of tactics for the games, but he shall have an involvement if players choose to see him by helping their mental game."

England start against Australia with the first of three one-day internationals on 22 May.

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