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28 Mar 2018

The merits of Darren Lehmann staying or going

Picture credit: NAPARAZZI

During the press-conference immediately after Cameron Bancroft was caught red-handed using yellow tape to alter the condition of the ball, Steve Smith was on the front in stating that it was solely a “leadership group” decision and that Lehmann “didn’t know about it”.

This has since been backed up recently the chief of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, whose initial findings had found that it was only the three players – Bancroft, Smith and David Warner – who were involved in the pre-planned ball-tampering incident and that no other players or coaches were involved. 

Now whether or not the public chooses to believe this or not is up to them, however, if it is true that Lehmann had no say or had no knowledge of this pre-planned ball-tampering still brings his reputation into disrepute. 

Under Lehmann's watch

Even if Lehmann had no knowledge of this pre-planned ball-tampering, at the end of the day, the fact that it has happened under his tutelage is what is really worrying, and is why his job is under heavy scrutiny, again, regardless of his knowledge or involvement in the incident. 

The head coach of any cricket team is responsible for instilling the culture, and it is widely known that they are responsible for the manner in which they act on the field. 

In recent times, the Australian team has come under heavy criticism for their personal sledging on the field, with most notably Warner’s numerous incident’s with South African keeper Quinton de Kock 

It appears that under Lehmann’s leadership, this kind of behaviour is accepted, and to an extent encourage after he told the Australian public to send Stuart Broad home crying during last year’s Ashes series. 

An aggressive team culture

This is a coach who encourages the ‘Australian way’ to play cricket, one which is filled with sledging and abuse on the field. As well as that, it is also one which encourages a ‘winning at-all-costs mantra’, something which may very well have influenced the decision of Smith, Warner, and Bancroft to engage in ball-tampering. 

As good as Lehmann has been for the team, his time is undoubtedly up. A coach cannot continue in his job, regardless of his involvement or lack thereof, after a clear act of ‘cheating’ has occurred.

Lehmann is responsible for the culture of the team, and if key leaders need to resort to ‘cheating’ to instill these team ‘values’, then how can he continue in the top job. 

At this next press-conference, Lehmann should step-down, and allow for a new coach to take over and instill a new and improved culture, as the team is clearly in tatters as a result of this incident. 

Should Darren Lehmann remain in charge of the Australian side after the ball-tampering scandal? Let us know in the comments below.