Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has broken his silence on the ball tampering issue which has rocked Australian cricket. Admitting that the trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft had made a grave error, Lehmann reminded everyone that the entire incident has a human aspect to it and people do make mistakes. Urging the public to forgive the tainted trio, the 54-year-old hoped that they get a second chance in life.
“The players involved have been handed down very serious sanctions and they know they must face the consequences. They’ve made a grave mistake, but they are not bad people. As a coach you feel for them as people, they are hurting and I feel for them and their families. I hope that in all this, the media and the fans don’t forget that,” a visibly distraught Lehmann said.
“There’s a human side in this. They have made a mistake, as everyone, including myself, has made mistakes in the past. These are young men, and I hope people will give them a second chance. Their health and well being is extremely important to us. The team has been perceived quite negatively in recent times and there is a need for us to change some of the philosophies about the way we play,” he added while addressing the media in a press conference in Johannesburg.
On his role with the team, Lehmann reiterated that he will remain as the coach of the Australian cricket team. “I’m not going to resign. We need to change how we play, and within that, the boundaries we play. Obviously, previously, we’ve butted heads on the line but that’s not the way to go for us playing cricket moving forward. Yes, I am confident that they can change. I need to change,” the burly left-hander said.
Expressing regret over the entire matter, Lehmann went on to say, “I would also like to apologise to the Australian public and the cricket family. What happened on Saturday is not something that is acceptable, especially from the Australian cricket team. Like all of Australia, we’re extremely disappointed and as a team we know, we have let so many people down, and for that I’m truly sorry.”
“The thing for me would be, if we take a leaf out of someone like say New Zealand’s book. The way they respect the opposition… we do respect the opposition but we push boundaries. We’ve got to make sure we are respecting the game, its traditions and understand the game itself around the world,” he concluded by saying.