Qantas Tour of South Africa
Coach Lehmann to break his silence
Coach wins support of Allan Border having been cleared by initial findings of CA's ball-tampering investigation
28 March 2018, 03:30 PM AEST
Under-fire coach Darren Lehmann will break his silence late tonight on the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked Australian cricket and seen three members of his team sent home.
Lehmann has been cleared of any prior knowledge of the plan hatched by Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft to deliberately alter the condition of the ball in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Those three players have been ruled out of the fourth Test, which starts on Friday, and their full penalties will be revealed in the next 24 hours.
With Cricket Australia's investigation ongoing, Lehmann has so far been unable to address the situation publicly but he is expected to front the media in Johannesburg sometime on Wednesday (local time).
The Australian team will not train on Wednesday, meaning they will have just one day of training - on Thursday - before the fourth Test at The Wanderers gets underway on Friday.
Former Australia captain Allan Border has thrown his support behind Lehmann, labelling him "one of the good guys" who deserves to keep his job given - as CA's investigation has determined - he had no knowledge of the tampering scheme.
"We're talking about one of the good guys in Australian cricket," Border told Fox Sports News.
"He's done a fantastic job with that team and if he wasn't aware of what was going on, there's no problem at all.
"If (CA's) integrity officer has been through and interviewed people and he's satisfied that Darren Lehmann didn't know specifically what was going on at the time, I'm very relaxed.
"That's a good news item, isn't it, not the other way."
Border's comments come as three former Test captains - Michael Clarke, Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen - seemingly questioned the finding that only Smith, Warner and Bancroft were in on the plot to tamper with the ball.
To many reputations on the line for the full story not to come out. Cape Town change room is a very small place!— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 27, 2018
The truth, The full story, Accountability and Leadership- until the public get this Australian cricket is in deep shit!— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 27, 2018
Lehmann never knew - 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 27, 2018
As the tampering scandal unfolded on the field on Saturday, Lehmann was shown speaking via a two-way radio to substitute fielder Peter Handscomb, who then went onto the field to give a message to Cameron Bancroft. There is yet to be an explanation as to the nature of Lehmann's discussion with Handscomb and whether or not it was related to the use of tape on the ball by Bancroft.
In announcing the initial findings of CA's investigation, CEO James Sutherland backed Lehmann to continue as coach until the end of his current contract, which expires next year.
He also dismissed any suggestion that Lehmann has offered to resign, despite a UK media report on Tuesday that alleged the coach would step down.
"No other players or support staff had prior knowledge and this includes Darren Lehmann, who despite inaccurate media reports, has not resigned from his position," Sutherland said.
"He will continue to coach the Australian men’s team under his current contract."
While Lehmann has been cleared in the tampering case, CA has confirmed that an independent review into the general culture of his team will be conducted.
Border conceded that Lehmann's side "is not popular" amongst some in the cricket and wider communities and that the coach needs to "have a long, hard look" at how his team is perceived.
"I think this goes a bit deeper than just straight out ball-tampering," he said.
"The Australian cricket team itself is not a popular cricket team and a lot of their antics on the field have upset a lot of people. And anyone with axe to grind has an opportunity now to stick the knife in.
"Is Darren Lehmann involved in that? Yes he probably is. He has to have a long, hard look at the portrayal of what the Australian cricket team is all about and how it's perceived. He'll have to take stock of all of that.
"He'll be under a lot of pressure as far as that's concerned. But the ball-tampering situation, he didn't know anything about that and he's got things to do going forward."
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers.
Australia squad: Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test South Africa won by six wickets. Scorecard
Third Test South Africa won by 322 runs. Scorecard
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage