Darren Lehmann addresses the media ahead of Australia's 4th Test vs South Africa © Getty Images
Darren Lehmann addresses the media ahead of Australia’s 4th Test vs South Africa © Getty Images

Darren Lehmann, coach of the scandal-tainted Australia  cricket team, said Thursday he would quit after the fourth and final Test of a series in South Africa. ”This will be my last Test as head coach of the Australian cricket team,” Lehmann told a press conference on the eve of the match. ”Saying goodbye to the players was the toughest thing I have ever had to do.” Lehmann, who was not was due to leave the job until after the 2019 Ashes series in England, is quitting despite being cleared of any role in the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked the sport.

Lehmann’s decision follows 12-month bans given to captain Steven Smith and vice-captain David Warner for the roles they played in a plot to cheat in Cape Town during the third Test last Saturday. Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months for his part in the ball-tampering plan.

“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll. After speaking to my family at length over the last few days, it’s the right time to step away. I am ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while. Despite telling media yesterday that I’m not resigning, after viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting, it is only fair that I make this decision. This will let Cricket Australia make a full review of the team and implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public,” Lehmann concluded.