Darren Lehmann steps down from Australia head coach role

In another major development in the ball-tampering scandal, Darren Lehmann quit as Australia head coach on Thursday. The fourth and final Test against South Africa from March 30-April 3 will be his last game in charge of the Australian team.

Darren Lehmann steps down from Australia head coach role
Reuters

In another major development in the ball-tampering scandal, Darren Lehmann quit as Australia head coach on Thursday. The fourth and final Test against South Africa from March 30-April 3 will be his last game in charge of the Australian team.

“As many who sit in this room will know, life on the road means a lot of time away from loved ones and after speaking to my family, it is the right time to step away," Lehmann said. 

“Speaking to the players and saying goodbye is the toughest thing I have had to do. It's been happening for a few days and you think you can keep going but the amount of abuse just takes its toll. They made a mistake.

“Speaking to my family, they’ve had enough of travelling 300 days. This was entirely my decision. I have been speaking to the hierarchy in the last couple of days,” he added. 

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were severely punished by Cricket Australia on Wednesday for their roles in ball-tampering during the third Test in Cape Town, however, Lehmann had been given a clean chit. 

Earlier on Thursday, all three players apologised for bringing the game into disrepute. Smith held a press conference after reaching Australia and broke down in tears.

"I take full responsibility, I made a serious error of judgement and I understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership," Smith said before breaking down in tears.

"I'm sorry. I`m absolutely devastated. I will do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it's caused. If any good is to come from this it can be a lesson for others and I hope I can be a force for change. I know I'll regret this for the rest of my life. I'm absolutely gutted. 

“I say two things, or three things. Firstly, I'm deeply sorry. I love the game of cricket, I love entertaining young kids, I love kids wanting to play the great game of cricket that I love. The two other things is that, any time you think about making a questionable decision, think about who you're affecting, you're affecting your parents.

"To see the way my old man's been ... it hurts. I just want to say I'm sorry for the pain that I've brought to Australia and the fans and the public, it's devastating and I'm truly sorry.”