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Future is red and white for coaches: Lehmann

Darren Lehmann forsees a split in Australia's head coach duties that will create Test and limited-overs specialist jobs

Australia coach Darren Lehmann believes the increasing demands of the international schedule leave "no choice" but to split the head coach role between red and white-ball formats.

Lehmann returns to his role for the Magellan Ashes in the coming weeks having missed Australia's ODI and T20 tour of India, with bowling coach David Saker standing in as head coach.

It's not the first time this year he has missed a series; in a telling indication of the way the game is going, Lehmann was in India with the Test squad in February as Justin Langer took the reins of the national T20 team.

And the idea of resting the head coach dates back as far as this period four years ago, when Steve Rixon took the reins off Lehmann in India for a limited-overs tour between Ashes series.

"I think it will get to a stage where I'll probably have to look at changing that setup," Lehmann told cricket.com.au.

"I know speaking to (former England coach) Andy Flower for example … he didn't like it so much, but I think the way that the game is going, you’ve got no choice now."

Lehmann feels the logical way to split the responsibility was down the lines of Test and ODI/T20I, in order to maintain some form of continuity while also alleviating the head coach of some duties in what is a punishing schedule.

He also pointed out that it is a path the players are already well down, with the end result potentially vastly different XIs for different formats.

"You can't split them three ways – Tests, one-dayers and T20 – some of the time there's no point another coach coming in, it's just logistical nightmares, so I think you'd probably go white ball, red ball.

"And cricket is really getting specialised. You can see a time when down the track … I don't know how many years but there'll be really significant changes and the XIs will be separate XI for each format or in red-ball and white-ball cricket.

"And that's happening now anyway, just because it's the only way you can keep the players on the park.

"But then you've got big tournaments which are really important to win and your best side has to be available.

"And there's always different stories, (such as) how (can) the young guys get an opportunity at the next level if you don't give them the opportunity when you get a chance?

"So there's pros and cons everywhere – it's just how you balance it out."

Langer, who also took the head coach duties from Lehmann during a tour of the Caribbean in 2016, is currently head coach of Western Australia and has been mooted a national head coach of the future.

So too has Ricky Ponting, who has already led Mumbai Indians to success in the IPL before getting his first taste within the Australia set-up in a coaching capacity under Langer earlier this year in the T20s against Sri Lanka.

In the same boat as Ponting (batting coach) through that short series was Jason Gillespie (fast-bowling coach), who has impressed with his title-winning success at Yorkshire and is the current Adelaide Strikers coach in the KFC Big Bash League.

All three players, along with Saker, loom as potential candidates should Cricket Australia opt to divide the head coach roles.

Earlier this year, Lehmann penned an open letter to former players appealing for their ideas and support as the current team tries to work its way to the top of the rankings in all three formats.

The feedback since, he said, has been strong.

"I have had some really good responses, some really detailed emails and thoughts," he said. "They're a great tool for us, the legends of the game who wore the Baggy Green and know what it's like to represent your country, so we'd be mad not to use them.

"There's so many people out there with great ideas and we certainly don't have all the ideas or all the answers."

Meanwhile, former Ashes stars Ryan Harris and Chirs Rogers will join Australia's coaching ranks to guide teams in the tour matches against England next month. 

Harris will be head coach of the Cricket Australia XI in a four-day tour match against England at the Adelaide Oval on November 8-11, with retired opening batsman Rogers to serve as his deputy. 

Graeme Hick, Troy Cooley and John Davison will also have rolls with the CA XI for matches against the England XI in Townsville (November 15 to 18) and in a two-day match in Perth (December 9-10) before the third Magellan Ashes Test.