Lehmann to coach young Aussie talent

Johannesburg : Australia's coach Darren Lehmann talks on the phone, after the arrival of the Australian team to OR Tambo International International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Australia skipper Steve Smith has been suspended by the International Cricket Council for the fourth test match against South Africa for his part in a ball tampering scandal during the third test. Smith admitted some senior players were aware of the tampering attempt. AP/PTI Photo(AP3_27_2018_000163A)

Former national coach Darren Lehmann, who quit in the wake of a ball-tampering scandal, will take on a new role working with young talent under Australia’s National Performance Program (NPS), officials said Thursday.

Lehmann, 48, was contracted as national coach until after the 2019 Ashes series in England, but opted to go early in the wake of the tainted tour of South Africa earlier this year.

This was despite being cleared of any role in the ball-tampering affair that saw Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft suspended from the game for up to 12 months.

NPS head coach Troy Cooley said Lehmann would work with himself, former Test bowler Ryan Harris and opener Chris Rogers to oversee the development of players over the upcoming winter months.

While his role will focus largely on the NPS, it will also encompass other pathways programmes within the Cricket Australia set-up, he said.

“I had a good chat with ‘Boof’ (Lehmann) and he was really keen to continue his coaching,” Cooley told cricket.com.au.

“And what a great opportunity — having his expert skills in the areas that we need.

“Darren has already told me he is relishing the opportunity, so it’s win-win all round.”

A tearful Lehmann quit after the fourth and final Test in South Africa in April, saying the team needed a fresh start after the plot to cheat during the third Test by using sandpaper to alter the ball’s condition.

He said at the time that the scandal had affected him and his family.

Lehmann was hailed as a saviour when he took over in 2013, but critics now accuse him of overseeing a toxic culture that has dented the reputation of the famed Baggy Green cap.

Justin Langer was named as his replacement this month, vowing to fix the team’s behaviour and win back respect.