Darren Lehmann steps down as Australia cricket coach

By @saihoops on
Darren Lehmann, Australia cricket coach
Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann reacts as he briefs media at the Wanderes stadium in Johanneburg, South Africa March 29, 2018. Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko

A teary-eyed Darren Lehmann announced his decision to resign as Australian cricket coach in an emotional press conference on Thursday. Lehmann, who took charge of the team in June 2013, will step away from his position at the end of the ongoing Johannesburg Test match against South Africa.

Lehmann revealed that he could no longer continue in the position after watching axed captain Steve Smith and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft shed tears during their respective press conferences a day earlier. Smith, Bancroft and former vice-captain David Warner have been suspended by Cricket Australia (CA) due to their roles in the Cape Town Test ball-tampering scandal that threatens to rock Australian cricket.

"After seeing events in the media today with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, the feeling is that Australian cricket needs to move forward and this is the right thing to do. I really felt for Steve as I saw him crying in front of the media and all of the players are really hurting. As I've stated before I had no prior knowledge of the incident and do not condone what happened at all, but good people can make mistakes," Lehmann said, via ESPNCricinfo.

Darren Lehmann couldn’t sleep for days

Lehmann confessed to not being able to sleep since last Saturday when his team was caught red-handed for ball-tampering at Newlands, Cape Town. Earlier this week, the CA banned Smith and Warner for a period of 12 months and Bancroft, the man assigned with the task of tampering the ball, for nine months.

"I've been speaking with the hierarchy the last couple of days, and this morning, no sleep last night again, no-one's slept, that's the biggest challenge fronting up tomorrow. I don't think I've slept since Saturday to be perfectly honest, couple hours here and there, playing around in your head, and what's right, and let the game move forward," added Lehmann, who played 27 Test matches for Australia as a batsman.

After CA officials conducted a thorough investigation into the ball-tampering scandal, Lehmann was cleared and primed to continue as Australia cricket coach. However, Lehmann admittedly felt a moral obligation to step away and hand over the reigns of the team to a new leadership group. Tim Paine has been appointed as temporary captain of Australia.