Melbourne, Nov 19 (IANS) Legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batter Ian Healy has attributed the country’s reported disconnect with its star cricketers to the fact that they are not fighting enough “when the chips are down” and their “earnings”.
The 58-year-old great said it’s time for Australian cricketers to improve their public image and engage with the masses.
Crowds were negligible for Australia’s matches during the ICC T20 World Cup at home and the trend continued during the home team’s big win against England in the opening One-day International at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, which raked in only 15,000-odd spectators.
Brand Australia has taken a beating after the home team missed the knockouts in their bid to defend the T20 World Cup title they won last year in the UAE, with the below-par performance also being attributed to Justin Langer’s resignation from the national setup earlier this year.
We’ve got to have attitude and got to really fall in love with our public again, and vice versa,” Healy told SEN Mornings on Saturday.
“I’m not sure (why Australians might have fallen out of love with the national cricket team). Maybe we don’t win hard enough, (maybe) we don’t fight hard enough when the chips are down, (maybe) there’s less empathy for the players now because of their earnings.
“When we’re dealing with a lack of empathy, we need to re-engage with the public better than we have,” he added.
Healy feels that despite Pat Cummins’ side winning the opening ODI of the three-match series against England on Thursday, Australian cricketers could do more.
“I only just sort of put out a bit of a theory — pop-up visits,” said the former wicketkeeper. “Just lob in places, three or four of the cricketers turn up at the best Friday afternoon bar, just so they can be there and tolerate selfies for an hour and go.
“Things like that. We’ve got to surprise again, we’ve got to get outside out of our team and do things that are good for the sport much more,” explained Healy.