JOHANNESBURG – A tearful Darren Lehmann announced his resignation as the Australian team’s coach at the conclusion of the fourth Test against South Africa.
Reading from a brief statement Thursday, the 48 year old, said the last few days have taken a toll on him and his family and seeing the tearful confessions from Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith when they returned home had been “unbelievable.”
Lehmann, who broke down on a number of occasions during an eight minute media conference, was contracted to coach the team through until the end of next year’s World Cup.
“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse in the last week, and as many of you know, it’s taken a toll on them. Life on the road means a lot of time away from loved ones and after speaking to my family at length over the last few days, it’s the right time to step away.”
“I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while. Despite telling media yesterday I’m not resigning, after viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting, it’s only fair that I make this decision,” said Lehmann.
“This will allow Cricket Australia to complete a full review into the culture of the team and allow them to implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public. It’s the right thing for Australian cricket. We know we have let so many people down.”
Lehmann’s resignation comes at the end of a tumultuous week for Australian cricket which saw Cricket Australia hand out one year bans to captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner following a ball tampering scandal that occurred during the third Test in Cape Town last week.
Lehmann reiterated on Thursday that he knew nothing about the affair.
“I’ve been speaking with the hierarchy (Cricket Australia) the last couple of days. Last night, I had no sleep again...
“I don’t think I’ve slept since Saturday, a couple of hours here and there, a lot’s been playing around in my head what’s wrong and right, and its time to let the game move forward,” he added.
“It’s been unbelievable mate,” Lehmann said of the fury that the Australian public has directed at the team.
“Watching those two young men face the media – and I’m sure David (Warner) will be the same – it’s been unbelievable, hopefully we can get back to the game of cricket, it’s a game to be loved, and enjoyed.
“S**t, I’ve had a great time coaching in my career and coaching the Australian cricket team has been a real high. For me, I’m looking forward to having some time off... I’d like to stay involved in the game because I love it so much.”