Melbourne: Australian cricket legend Allan Border has said that the Australian top order looks to be in a happier place than a month before, with the appointment of new coach Darren Lehmann, ahead of the Ashes.
According to the Herald Sun, the former captain believes that the appointment of Lehmann could not have been timed better despite concerns that the team is in disarray and set for a rocky Ashes campaign with the sacking of former coach Mickey Arthur.
Optimistic about Australia`s chances of winning the Ashes with the return of Lehmann to the side, Border said that Lehmann`s `honeymoon period` should last into the early Tests, with the greatest beneficiaries being the batsmen, especially the top order.
Stating that he can see Usman Khawaja blossoming under Lehmann as they are on the same wave-length, with both belonging to Queensland, Border said that even though Khawaja is said to be difficult, he had flourished under Lehmann at Queensland and can do the same at national level.
Border further said that Lehmann can liberate the though processes of suspended opener David Warner and tell him to play on instinct instead of being a technically pure Test player, adding that Warner was caught between the `just see it and hit it` philosophy that worked well in shorter formats and the more patient mindset of the traditional Test batsman.
Border also said that Phillip Hughes will be able to free himself from trying too hard now with the presence of Lehmann, adding that Lehmann will relax and teach Hughes about playing spin and his best scoring options and ensure that he plays with a clear mind.
Border also said that Lehmann has already helped former vice captain Shane Watson with a strong positive move by confirming that he will open in the Ashes, adding that Watson has also been given the message that Lehmann wants him and rates him high.
Stating that Watson has fulfilled Lehmann`s expectations at the top of the order in tour games against Somerset and Worcestershire, Border also said that the sense of being wanted is a key issue because Watson had been a vice-captain who had barely been consulted on selections, field placings and bowling changes like other deputies.
However, Border advised Lehmann to create an environment in which all of the players feel comfortable with their roles, saying that if he failed to do that, he will also be shown the door like Arthur.