George Orwell’s dire predictions for 1984 may have seemed minor compared to what Australian cricket faced that year.
G’day Australians. It’s your national coach Justin Langer, here to demystify the concept of Elite Honesty in my trademark unhurried tone.
Ever since a picture of this motto was posted on social media from inside Australia’s change room, there’s been a torrent of feedback. People have been accusing me of lazily combining two random and disparate words, but I reckon they’re just insolubly hairless.
The facts are this: Elite Honesty will turn around Australian cricket’s reputation of arrogance, and anyone who doubts this would never understand because they’re probably not a professional Australian cricketer.
Those who mock Elite Honesty must realise Australia is vastly different nowadays. Usman Khawaja is reverse sweeping to save Test matches and Allan Border is approving. Shane Warne is on The 7:30 Report and its not even as an offender.
This is why we need Elite Honesty.
But what exactly does this uncomfortable marriage of words mean?
Elite Honesty is the latest in Australian cricket’s Elite Collection, sitting alongside elite mateship, elite collapses and elite follow-ons – and it’s a term I adopted from my dear friend Matt Hayden.
I’ll never forget the day he first shared it with me as it was right after he copped a heavy knock in the surf.
As he slowly regained consciousness on the sand, Haydos continually muttered it to me: “Elite Honesty, Elite Honesty.” In saying that, he could’ve been saying “Meat Odyssey” – the big fella is always thinking of new dishes.
Either way, once he repeated it 25 more times, I knew his concussion had answered Australia’s dot ball problem. And what I was having for lunch.
From this point on, I decided Australia would live by the edict of Elite Honesty. It didn’t need a meaning, because I was going to put it on a poster.
I decided Australian cricket would be rebuilt with Elite Honesty – not lying to relatives about your weight, leaving your internet history intact, and West Australians – lots of West Australians.
Elite Honesty is better than regular honesty and it’s player pacts and stuff too. It’s respect for opponents, like shaking hands and sledging out of range of stump mics. Not walking after you’ve edged it though.
They also say Elite Honesty draws upon the honesty of the elites. I’m not sure what that means, but I guess it implies Australian cricket is like the major banks. This definitely works if you think about low-interest rates.
But at the end of the day, Elite Honesty is fundamentally about performance. It was no coincidence Marcus Labuschagne forgot to ground his bat after borrowing my iPhone charger without asking.
Whichever way you interpret it, Australian cricket’s grim brand will be restored with Elite Honesty. That, and heaps of other cool new livery.
Poor livery has nobbled this country’s cricketing culture for too long. I’ve always maintained nobody would’ve tried to cover up cheating if a wall told us not to. It’s as culpable for Australia’s demise as executive bonuses and Pat Howard.
So get on board with this team. Invest in Elite Honesty and gratuitous wall posters of Elite Honesty, and enjoy the pleasant, sanction-free victories as they roll in. Just don’t ask what it means.
Believe me, if Australian cricket can smash a perception with anything – its elitism.