‘s coach Darren Lehmann reacts as he speaks during a media conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: APJohannesburg: Darren Lehmann has quit as coach of the n cricket team.
An emotional Lehmann announced on Thursday that the fourth Test against South Africa would be his last in charge.
He said he had made the decision to resign after watching Steve Smith’s gut-wrenching press conference in Sydney as well as Cameron Bancroft fronting the media in Perth.
An emotional Darren Lehmann said he would resign as head coach. Photo: AP
“The feeling is that n cricket needs to move forward and this is the right thing to do,” Lehmann said.
“I really felt for Steve, as I saw him crying in front of the media. As I stated before I had no prior knowledge of the [ball-tampering] incident and do not condone what happened, but good people can make mistakes.
“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll. Life on the road means a long time away from our loved ones and after speaking with them at length over the last few days, this is the right time to step away.
Darren Lehmann said he couldn’t continue as coach after seeing what Steve Smith and David Warner went though. Photo: AP
“I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while. Despite telling media yesterday that I’m not resigning, after viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting, it’s only fair that I make this decision.
“This will allow Cricket to undertake a full review into the culture of the team to begin to implement changes to regain the trust of the n public. This is the right thing for cricket.”
In extraordinary scenes in the moments after Lehmann announcedhe was leaving, the new-look n team began their only pre-match training session at the Wanderers with a playlist of classic n songs blaring around the cauldron.
There was Nick Cave’sInto My Arms, Paul Kelly’sHow to Make Gravyand mostpoignantly, n Crawl’sReckless.
He had earlier broken down as he told the players the news that he was leaving in the dressing room at the ground and then rang Cricket chief James Sutherland, who was back at the team hotel, to inform him. Players were in tears as well.
“It’s been a wonderful experience coaching the n cricket team,” Lehmann said. “I hope the team rebuilds from this and the n public finds it in their hearts to forgive these young men and get behind the XI who are going to take the field tomorrow.
“Speaking to the players to tell them the news, that’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
Lehmann said that during his five years in charge of the n team he was most proud of how the cricket fraternity pulled together after the death of Phillip Hughes in 2014. He struggled to contain his emotions as he spoke of Hughes.
“We’re only playing a game, that’s all we’re playing,” he said. “We lost a great young man and the way we tried to deal with that is probably my proudest moment as coach. You win games, you lose games.”
Lehmann said the reaction to the team’s admission of cheating in Cape Town had been “unbelievable”.
“Watching the two young men face the media – and I’m sure David will be the same – it’s been unbelievable. Hopefully the game gets back to the game of cricket,” he said.
“Everyone has their views out there, but they made a mistake and we need to get the game back on track.
Darren Lehmann said his proudest moment as a coach was helping the cricket fraternity to come together after the death of Phillip Hughes. Photo: AP
“It is a game that we love and enjoy. Shit, I’ve had a great time coaching and coaching the n cricketteam is a real high.
“For me I’m looking forward to having some time off. I’d like to stay involved in the game because I love it so much.”
Sutherland paid tribute to Lehmann.
“He provided fantastic service but he’s also been a part of a very successful team that has achieved a lot in his time as coach,” Sutherland said.
“They won a World Cup in 2015, a couple of winning Ashes series and then at various times during the course of his tenure the team in various formats has gone to No.1 in the world.
“I have seen first hand the pride in which he has gone about his work, the love he has for the job, his incredible work ethic. I think one of the things that really strikes me about Darren and his character as a coach is the way he genuinely cares for and loves his players. I have huge regard and respect for the way he has gone about his job over the time he has been coach of the n men’s team.”
Justin Langer is considered the favourite to land the job as Lehmann’s successor although the appointment of a new head coach may be some way down the track.
“We don’t play any international cricket for a few months now. It’s not until I think June the team is due in England [for limited-overs matches],” Sutherland said.
“We’ve got plenty of time to work through that. I know there is a lot of talent in the coaching ranks back in but also we will reflect on the fact that amongst international cricket there are a lot of n coaches that are performing very well.”
– The Age