Darren Lehmann: Seeking his moment of redemption with the Australian team

Darren Lehmann (left) has to form a good partnership with skipper Michael Clarke to lift Australia out of a muddle © Getty Images

Darren Lehmann took over the reins of Australian coach just two and a half weeks before the Ashes series. Aayush Puthran feels his latest role as the Australian coach could well provide him with that moment of individual peak.

Once Darren Lehmann moves away from cricket, he would boast of a fabulous Curriculum Vitae — being part of two World Cup winning XIs (1999 and 2003), two Indian Premier League (IPL) winning teams, as a player for Rajasthan Royals in 2008 and as a coach for Deccan Chargers in 2009, scoring the winning runs of the 1999 World Cup, taking the winning catch of the 2003 World Cup and most importantly being able to find a place in the playing XI in unarguably the strongest team in world cricket during the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, given the amount of runs he has scored in First-Class cricket, his achievements at the international stage haven’t done justice to his talent. He has not only scored 25,795 runs in First-Class cricket, but also has to his credit of being the highest run-getter in Sheffield Shield history. Yet, these achievements elude him from greatness.

From being in a world-class side that had the propensity to win matches from any situation, to a stint in a side that is struggling to find sanity in its management, Lehmann has to deal with the changing issues plaguing Australian cricket. However, if he could turn the fortunes of the team with this unit and the chaos in its functioning, he could well be on path of individual glory.

His past coaching assignments, for Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heats, have brought him decent success, but it is the old-fashioned Aussie approach that can fit well in desperate times for the country’s cricket team. He finds himself with just over two-and-a-half weeks to work with the new Australian unit, a period not enough to deal with a lot of technical issues, but could well work wonders as far as their mental approach is concerned.

A fun-loving person by nature, his simple approach is definitely the need of the hour. He commands respect and former players have vouched for his brilliance and backed the board’s decision in appointing him.

Former Australian fast-bowler and Lehmann’s teammate Jason Gillespie told BBC, “Anyone who has spent any time with Darren Lehmann and knows him, in cricket circles, knows that it’s a good decision. I think Darren will bring a lot of enjoyment, a lot of fun to that dressing room. He keeps things very simple, is big on making sure the environment is strong and I don’t think he’ll put up with any rubbish.”

Shane Warne too agreed to back Lehmann and help the Australian spinners ahead of the Ashes after being asked by the coach to join the team.

There is no denying the fact that Australia would be entering the Ashes as underdogs for the first time since 1986. And if the team from Down Under do manage to upset the Poms in English conditions, it could well be Lehmann’s moment of redemption.

(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)