Cricket legend Mike Brearley talks tactics, cheating and corruption

Former England cricket captain Mike Brearley
Former England cricket captain Mike Brearley

When former England cricket captain stepped up to the crease at Books by the Beach - Scarborough's annual literature festival - we were in for much more than a trip down memory lane.

Not for Brearley was reminiscing about a 'golden age', sun-kissed grounds and sandwiches for tea. Neither were we bowled any dressing room or salacious gossip.

It was a more serious affair than that - because as well as being a first class cricketer, Brearley is a psychoanalyst or, in his words, a trick cyclist.

As well as leading England to 17 Test match victories and captaining the side that won the Ashes in 1981, he has served as President of the British Psychoanalytical Society.

This event at Scarborough Library was a chance for Brearley to talk about his book On Cricket - a collection of his pieces written over 45 years.

All areas of the game were covered - tactics, batting technique, bowling, cheating and corruption - all talked about in a gentlemanly fashion and with names from a different era of the game dropped gently into the conversation.

Brearley is a quiet, cerebral man of cricket - not that he has not got a sense of humour. He has and that too is quiet and self-effacing.

The biggest laugh came when he was asked whether it was true that one of his nicknames was Scag - after Scagglethorpe in Ryedale. It is true and led to anecdote after anecdote including 'leasing' his tent to a fellow cricketer while playing at Seamer.