Lehmann's regret at picking Ashes veterans

Australia coach makes extraordinary revelation on eve of South Africa Test series

Darren Lehmann has said taking Brad Haddin and Shane Watson on last year's failed Ashes tour was "a mistake", with the Australia coach admitting he was "blinded a little through sentiment".

Australia lost the 2015 Ashes series 3-2 to hand back the urn won so convincingly in the 2013-14 summer and extend the streak of winless tours of England for at least 18 years. Australia last won an away Ashes series in 2001 and don't get another chance until after the 2019 World Cup.

In his newly released book, Coach, Lehmann writes he fronted both Haddin and Watson during the Caribbean Test tour that immediately preceded the Ashes and asked: "Are you going to get some runs or are you going to retire?"

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"They both said they would get some runs, but I knew in my heart of hearts they had run their race at Test level," Lehmann writes.

"I admit I did allow myself to be blinded a little through sentiment and a belief they could turn around their declining form.

"Given my time again my preference as just one member of the NSP (national selection panel) would have been to look beyond Watson and Haddin for that Ashes series, but circumstances dictated otherwise.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

"In the case of Brad Haddin what it boiled down to was, first and foremost, a selection issue, as we should never have taken him to the West Indies and the United Kingdom in the first place, something I think he, too, now acknowledges.

"I thought he could continue to perform to the required level in the Caribbean and during the Ashes series but, with my experience, I should have known better."

Both players featured in the opening Test in Cardiff, but neither wore the Baggy Green for Australia again after the tourists were blown away by 169 runs.

Watson was dropped for the second Test at Lord's, replaced by Mitchell Marsh, to signal the end of his Test career.

Haddin withdrew from the Lord's Test after his daughter became ill, replaced by Peter Nevill who retained his position when Haddin made himself available again for the third Test at Edgbaston.

Haddin had been under pressure to retain his spot after dropping Joe Root early in his innings in Cardiff. Root went on to make a match-winning century.

Lehmann is the latest to publish a book that lifts the lid on the past few years with the Australian cricket team, following autobiographies from Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Chris Rogers. Haddin is scheduled to publish an autobiography next month.

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