Banning 3 idiots' fine but what about Lehmann?

The internal inquiry seems to have concluded that Lehmann was unaware, if not innocent, in this instance of ball tampering.

Cricket Australia has acted to resurrect the fair name of the game. They have banned the three musketeers —Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft —from international and domestic cricket. The BCCI followed up quickly to ban Smith and Warner from IPL-11. It could be said all is well with the cricket world once again except that the Australian coach Darren Lehmann has managed the ‘Great Escape.’

Cricketers are aghast at the coach being exonerated while three batsmen, who reportedly hatched the conspiracy to tamper with the ball during a break in the Newlands Test, have been hung out to dry. The reaction of Kevin Pietersen says it all — of Smileys laughing until they cry. A twitterati even responded saying his eyes were hurting from the mustard set. The derision is well illustrated here because the so-called leadership group seems confined to the captain and vice-captain and one older batsman who acted as the lackey.


The sequence of events shows that Lehmann at least became aware when he watched the action through binoculars as the umpires started first questioning the fielder. He then picked up the walkie-talkie to pass instructions to the sub near the field to talk to Bancroft. So nervous did Bancroft become that he stuffed the yellow tape into his trousers for the camera to catch it and send it for the world to see.

The internal inquiry seems to have concluded that Lehmann was unaware, if not innocent, in this instance of ball tampering. But many questions arise because this is Lehmann’s team as much as it is Smith’s and Warner’s. As coach, Lehmann was responsible for the culture prevailing in the Australian cricket team and we know that a culture of hubris, arrogance and complete disregard for the sensitivities of opponents in the sporting arena existed in his tenure.

The IPL team, which used to play under Lehmann, thought of him as a control freak obsessed with playing for success. Nothing moved in the team’s dressing room without his knowledge. An overbearing coach who helped Australia rebuild was built in the old tradition of the ‘Ugly Aussie’ who played sport abrasively with an “in your face” brand of confrontational cricket. The Aussies would probably have to tell it to the Marines that the group trainer was unaware of the conspiracy hatched by three batsmen to aid their fast bowlers to reverse swing the ball early.

The cricket world finds it hard to believe that Lehmann was not part of the ‘leadership group’ of Australian cricket. What is Cricket Australia trying to prove in stubbornly hanging on to its coach at a time of the great cheating scandal? A number of ex-Australian players are also convinced that in letting Lehmann go scot free, Cricket Australia is losing an opportunity to start with a clean slate and taking out the remnants of the Lehmann system of aggravated style of playing cricket. The dressing room atmosphere had to be changed as very senior Australian cricketers have pointed out, But that chance is gone.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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