Darren Lehmann announces his resignation as Australia’s coach
Australia’s head coach Darren Lehmann on March 29, 2018 announced his resignation from the position and said that Australia’s fourth and the final Test in South Africa would be his last match.
The former cricketer made the announcement during the pre-match press conference ahead of the fourth test that is scheduled to begin on March 30.
Lehmann’s resignation follows the ball-tampering scandal that jolted Australian cricket last week, even though he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the investigation undertaken by Cricket Australia.
What made him decide to quit?
Lehmann made his decision after watching Smith and Bancroft deliver emotional, tear-filled apologies at news conferences earlier on March 29.
Speaking after Cricket Australia slapped one-year bans on Smith and Warner and a 9-month ban on the 25-year-old opener Bancroft for their involvement in ball tampering, Lehmann said that he feared for the health of the players.
"After viewing Steve and Cameron's hurting, it's only fair that I make this decision," said Lehmann. He added saying that, “I'm ultimately responsible for the culture of the team. This will allow Cricket Australia to complete a full review of the team and allow them to implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public. This is the right thing for Australian cricket.”
While admitting that the players made a grave mistake, Lehmann said that he hoped that the Australian public will find it in their hearts to forgive them and give them a second chance.
What happens next?
• The fourth test, which will be played at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, will see a hastily reshuffled Australian team led by their new captain Tim Paine.
• The wicketkeeper will be leading a side which will also see middle-order batsman Glenn Maxwell along with openers Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw, who have replaced Smith, Warner and Bancroft.
• For coach Lehmann, it would be his last match, bringing an end to his 5-year stint with the team.
Australia under Lehmann
• Lehmann was appointed the head coach in 2013, losing his first Ashes series in England 3-0 before regaining the momentum with a 5-0 win five months later.
• The team also won the 2015 World Cup under his leadership and dealt with the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes in November 2014, who died after being hit by a bouncer on the neck during a domestic match in Sidney.
• Lehmann also oversaw the recent defeat of England in the Ashes by 4-0.
• Lehmann’s contract was to run until the end of the 2019 Ashes series in England.