Qantas Tour of South Africa
Lehmann 'really under the gun'
Test greats demand answers from coach while former teammate leaps to his defence
AAP & Cricket Network
27 March 2018, 10:39 AM AEST
Former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy and former England captain Nasser Hussain believe Darren Lehmann has questions to answer following the ball tampering scandal involving his team, amidst reports emerging from UK-based The Telegraph the coach is set to resign.
Australia captain Steve Smith has admitted he oversaw a plot to change the condition of the ball during the team's third Test loss to South Africa in Cape Town over the weekend.
Smith referred to the team's "leadership group" as being behind the plan and denied the coaching staff were involved or aware of the plot.
But Hussain said he would like to hear an explanation from Lehmann, who hasn't spoken publicly since the scandal was exposed.
"It doesn't look good on Lehmann either way, really," Hussain told Sky Sports.
"If he did know then he's in a whole heap of trouble and will not be able to hold his job down if he is condoning cheating and scratching of a cricket ball.
"If he didn't know, then questions will be asked as to why senior players are going round not telling the coach exactly what is going on.
"In the dressing rooms I've played in, it is inconceivable that the coach wouldn't know something like this was being dreamt up."
Healy, speaking on Channel Nine, echoed Hussain's comments.
"Lehmann is really under the gun now," he said.
"I think Lehmann, as Nasser Hussain said, if he didn't know that's a problem as well. His senior players are going around the coach. And if he did know, he's in real trouble.
"There's something in that dressing-room that wasn't quite right."
The comments from Healy and Hussain come as an unconfirmed UK media report said Lehmann was set to resign in the next 24 hours.
The report claims Lehmann will step down as Cricket Australia's internal investigation into the ball tampering scandal stepped up in Cape Town.
Cricket.com.au has sought comment from Cricket Australia officials regarding the report.
Former Australia coach John Buchanan says it's uncommon for a coach not to know what plans his players take onto the field.
"It is unusual as the teams are walking out that the coach is unaware of what's about to happen," Buchanan told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"Generally it will be the coach and captain, in the last couple of minutes before they go to the field, who will be saying, 'these are the sort of things we want to do and put in place when we get out on the field'."
Ian Botham, the legendary former England allrounder, also wants to hear explanations.
"What on earth possesses you to do something so stupid is beyond me. There's so much talk about it - how far does it go, how deep does it go?" Botham told Sky Sports.
"The players are saying that the management weren't involved which I hope is true. I don't think this decision was made by (just) Smith and (vice-captain David) Warner - so who else was involved?"
Meanwhile, former Australia batsman Jimmy Maher has launched an impassioned defence of Lehmann, saying the ball-tampering scandal goes against his former teammate's morals.
"I want to make it clear from the outset that we're good mates but I would be very, very surprised if Darren Lehmann knew anything about what's happened," Maher told Fox Sports News.
"He's not that sort of person. He doesn't stand for that sort of thing and I'm sure had he known about it he would have stopped it. That's the man I know and I'll be very surprised if I'm proven wrong with that.
"He's a very proud man, he’s a very loyal man and I know he's done a very good job with the Australian cricket team and I think he'll be gutted by what's happened."
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: Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, 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