Former Australia international and head coach Darren Lehmann has been forced to make changes in his lifestyle since a triple bypass surgery left him fearing for his life earlier this year.

It was an ordinary night for Lehmann who was having pizza with his son a day before he was to turn 50 but then everything changed when he woke up in the early hours of February 4. Feeling unwell, he was promptly rushed to a hospital where an angiogram revealed three blockages in blood vessels in his heart.

What went through his mind during the commute to the hospital proved life-changing.

“You’re fearful because you just don’t know what’s going to happen in the end. You get to the stage where you go ‘Am I going to wake up?'” Lehmann told “Not knowing what was wrong … it’s always the not knowing (that’s hardest); once you know, it’s OK – you start to get some answers, start to get some confidence from the surgeons and the nurses.”

The turn of events prompted him to make changes in his lifestyle, focusing on fitness – something he wasn’t overtly concerned even during his playing career.

He has quit smoking and also keeping a check on his drinking. “I’ve had a lot of learnings from it. You move forward. I’m feeling better now, but still quite sore in the chest at times. You hope everything’s healing, and you have good days and really bad days, and you pick and choose how you deal with them,” he said.

“It’s been a second lease on life. I don’t get angry anymore, or frustrated. You just see things for what they are. There’s a lot of people out there in more unfortunate scenarios than me,” he added.

Lehmann won three world cups – two as players in 1999 and 2003 and one as the Australia coach in 2015. After a largely successful stint with the national team, he stepped down in the aftermath of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal even though he had no prior knowledge of the act.

He has also spoken to the current Australia coach Justin Langer on how the job can take a toll on your life.

“It’s a life span – how long can you keep doing it before it does change you?” he said. “I said to (Langer) the other day, that in a weird way, this is a really good enforced break for him right now… I think it will be good for his coaching and good for him as a person.

“It’s still fun; the playing and the coaching and the planning side of it is always fun. It’s everything else – dealing with the politics of the game … and the travel, and being away from your family – that’s what makes it tough.”