Darren Lehmann steps down as coach, says ‘saying goodbye toughest thing I’ve done’

Darren Lehmann announced that the fourth and final Test of the series vs the South African cricket team will be his last match as coach of the Australian cricket team.

cricket Updated: Mar 29, 2018 19:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Darren Lehmann,Australian cricket team,David Warner
Darren Lehmann speaks to the press as he announces he will resign as Australian cricket team coach after the coming Test match on March 29, 2018 in Johannesburg. (AFP)

Darren Lehmann announced that the fourth and final Test of the series vs the South African cricket team will be his last match as coach of the Australian cricket team.

“This will be my last Test as head coach of the Australian cricket team,” Lehmann told a press conference on the eve of the match. “Saying goodbye to the players was the toughest thing I have ever had to do.”

Lehmann admitted he made this decision partly because of the abuse his family received over a ball-tampering scandal that has rocked the sport.

“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll,” added Lehmann.

“After speaking to my family at length over the last few days, it’s the right time to step away.

“I am 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 is only fair that I make this decision.

“This will let Cricket Australia make a full review of the team and implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public.”

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Lehmann added that he came to his decision after watching news coverage of Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft returning home having confessed to cheating in the third test last weekend.

Darren Lehmann is the latest casualty in the ball-tampering scandal that has already seen Steve Smith and David Warner stripped of their captaincy and vice-captaincy, respectively.

Both were also handed one-year bans whilst Cameron Bancroft, the third cricketer implicated in the incident, was handed a nine-month ban. Smith and Warner were also handed one-year bans from the Indian Premier League (IPL).

READ | Australian Cricketers’ Association questions severity of ball-tampering bans

Lehmann was previously given a clean chit by Cricket Australia (CA) in the incident, who stated that the ball-tampering incident was the idea of Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

A tearful Lehmann insisted the decision to quit was his, and he was not fired by his bosses over the scandal that has plunged the team into crisis.

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia CEO, will also address a media conference following Lehmann’s decision to step down.

READ | Steve Smith faces ‘cheat, cheat’ jeers at Johannesburg Airport – Watch video

The final Test match between Australia and South Africa, which will be Lehmann’s last assignment as the Australia national cricket team coach, begins on Friday.

(With inputs from AFP)

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 17:50 IST