Johannesburg: Darren Lehmann has stepped down as the coach of the Australian cricket in the wake of the ball tampering scandal that broke out last week during the third Test between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town.
During the pre-match press conference ahead of the fourth and the last Test against Proteas, Lehmann announced that the Johannesburg Test will be his last match at helm of the Australian cricket team.
In an emotional press briefing ahead of the South Africa clash, Lehmann said that the decision to step down was his own and it was paltry down to the abuse that he and his family have received over the last week, following the ball tampering scandal that saw heavy sanctions being handed to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
“This will be my last Test as head coach of the Australian cricket team. My family and I got a lot of abuse over the last week. Speaking to my family, it’s the right time to step away,” Lehmann said during a press conference on the eve of the match.
“Saying goodbye to the players was the toughest thing I have ever had to do.”
The former cricketer conceded that he should take some blame for the culture that has developed in the Australian team during his time as coach.
“Ultimately I’m responsible for the culture of the team. Been thinking about my position for a while, despite telling media (on Wednesday) that I’m not resigning,” he said.
“Watching axed captain Steve Smith break down repeatedly at a news conference on his return to Australia removed any final doubts about quitting. It’s only fair that I make this decision,” he said.
Earlier, Lehmann was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia and CEO James Sutherland revealed that he had no role to play in the whole incident.
“In Darren’s defence, I do want to clarify that matter,” Sutherland told reporters on Wednesday in response to a question about what Lehmann told 12th man Peter Handscomb via walkie-talkie before he ran on the field to pass the coach’s message onto Bancroft.
“He sent a message to say: ‘What the hell is going on?’ He didn’t use ‘hell’, he used another word. Darren wasn’t involved and didn’t know of the plan,” Sutherland added.