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Damien Fleming, Greg Blewett back Darren Lehmann to come good as Australia coach

Former cricketers Damien Fleming, Greg Blewett back Darren Lehmann to come good as Australia coach

Darren Lehmann impressed many with his coaching stint at Queensland © Getty Images

Sydney: Jun 24, 2013

Former Australian bowler Damien Fleming believes the timing of Mickey Arthur’s sacking is unfair and there will be a great amount of pressure on Darren Lehmann, who is set to replace the South African.

“I don’t think that’s fair to Lehmann,” Fleming told Foxsports.

“You’d want a few months to implement your coaching staff and your structures, but I think what we learned from his time with Queensland is that he can turn things around very quickly.”

“He can’t make the players any more talented, but he can certainly work on getting them playing as a group together, and letting them play with a lot of freedom.”

Cricket Australia will be having a meeting on Monday night to discuss the coaching structure and the announcement of the former cricketer succeeding Arthur will be made. Arthur was sacked as the coach of Australia on Monday just two weeks ahead of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

Lehmann, who has played 27 Test and 117 ODIs for the national side, recovered Queensland after taking charge as the head coach in 2011. He led the team to Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup victories. He also guided Brisbane Heat to their Big Bash League trophy this year.

However, Fleming feels no matter how much Lehmann’s role as a coach impacts the team, the timing has been improper.

The 43-year-old also sites that players like Usman Khawaja have improved under Lehmann, when the latter left New South Wales and joined Queensland. He says it has been mainly due to Lehmann’s “old fashioned values”.

While, Lehmann has seldom been involved in controversies that played a crucial role in shaping the Queensland coach’s reputation, Fleming says the former’s value is much more deeper than his old habits.

“The beer drinking can be overplayed, even from our era,” Fleming said.

“There are little things like what Darren implemented at Queensland cricket straight away — in one of his first meetings he invited all the families and the extended families.”

“He really loves that side of getting to know not only the player, but their partner and parents and family. That encourages everyone else to socialise, so in some ways he has a family culture around the group.”

“Also he implemented something which used to be standard when we were playing, which was that you had to stay after the game in the dressing room for an hour. He’s implemented that at Queensland.”

“You don’t have to drink — it’s not about drinking, it’s more about being there to talk to your teammates, to socialise, to debrief in a non-structured way.”

“I think when they talk about old fashioned values, it’s those sort of things that have probably just gone out of the games a little bit that can build team morale. It means you just don’t want to let down your teammates, that pride in the baggy green and wanting to sing the team song together. No one epitomised that more than Darren Lehmann in my era.”

Even Lehmann’s former South Australia teammate Greg Blewett backs Fleming’s ideas.

“What you see is what you get with Boof [Lehmann]. He comes across as a friendly, fun-loving guy and that’s pretty much what it is.”

“In terms of his cricket, he’s one of those guys who can think outside the square a little bit. His mentor was David Hookes, who was known for thinking outside the square.”

“What he’ll do is bring a mix of that era that he played in and the current era. He’s obviously been around as a coach for a few years now, so he knows there is a balance between what he did as a player and also the modern methods of sport science, recovery and those sort of things.”

“Boof has been known as a bloke that has a drink, has a smoke, that sort of thing. He certainly won’t be encouraging that with the players, but he’ll bring a good mix of the older generation and what the guys best need to do to prepare themselves to play good cricket,” Blewett concluded.

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