Darren Lehmann after resigning from his post as Australia coach. Picture: AFP
Darren Lehmann after resigning from his post as Australia coach. Picture: AFP

Lehmann reveals dark times after tampering scandal

DARREN Lehmann has opened up on how his life crashed down around him after he fell on his sword as coach, and admits Cricket Australia could have done more to support him.

As it stands, Lehmann and his key players Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft remain the only four individuals in Australian cricket to have accepted any accountability for the sandpaper storm in South Africa.

No one in CA administration has been held to account for the cultural dysfunction at head office.

But for Lehmann and his players, there has been a torrid emotional toll to pay as a result.

Little has been publicly reported, but Smith, Warner and Lehmann have all experienced dark times over the past few months and are still working their way through their mental demons as they deal with the sudden and brutal nature of how their lives changed forever back in March.

Cricket Australia have made counselling and psychological help available to the banished stars, but it's understood there is a feeling amongst them that they've been largely unsupported by the governing body.

Lehmann is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel as he prepares to re-launch his commentary career when Australia takes on South Africa in the first one-dayer in Perth live and exclusive on Fox Cricket this Sunday.

The vanquished coach denies overseeing a culture where his players abused team staff and doesn't agree game plans and strategies focused on Warner being an attack dog for the Australian team.

But Lehmann concedes that on occasions he did feel as though Cricket Australia treated his players as commodities and put commercial interests first.

Overall, he sees the cultural review as a chance for the game to finally learn and move forward.


Darren Lehmann admits he worried for the banned trio. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Darren Lehmann admits he worried for the banned trio. Picture: Phil Hillyard


Lehmann says he was at his darkest when Australia retook the field again in England back in June, and revealed he is still receiving counselling support to cope with the traumatic events that took place, where the coach genuinely bled for the suffering of his players.

"We had support but you could always have more, can't you," Lehmann told News Corp Australia.

"For me, it was OK. It was a tough time and you had bad days and good days and I'm sure all those other three blokes had worse days. You just hope they get the right help, everyone gets the right help when they need it. There could have been more help but they certainly didn't just leave us hanging either.

"I saw people, and am still seeing people about it. That's a work in progress. I don't think people know how much it affects people behind the scenes, but that's one of those things that you go through.

"The help of family and close friends got me through.

"The toughest time was probably when the team returned in England because you're not there and you care about them and you want them to do well.

"Time heals, so for me now I'm enjoying watching them play and just want them to do well."

Lehmann refuted a section of the cultural review that reported claims that Australian players had "abused" their own staff trying to carry out their jobs on match days.

There was also a damning assessment of an aggressive, bully-boy culture in the Australian dressing room.

Lehmann says those criticisms hurt.

"No, I didn't personally (see players abuse staff). That might have been before my time. I didn't see that in my time. They were always respectful and I didn't have a problem with that," said Lehmann.

"That was a little bit of a surprise.

"It's hard. It's a bit of a bubble, but you're on the road 300 days a year, so for them it's really hard to not have that bubble. You're a family travelling around. Some of that has been hurtful saying the culture is not great, because it's not too bad."

Lehmann said the overcrowded and relentless international schedule contributed to the feeling that the players were "commodities".

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