Australian coach ‘to resign within 24 hours’
AUSTRALIAN cricket coach Darren Lehmann is reportedly set to resign in the next 24 hours.
The Australian mentor, who has overseen World Cup triumphs and Ashes series sweeps, is set to become the first casualty of the ball tampering crisis which threatens to tear Aussie cricket apart.
The 48-year-old was under mounting pressure to walk away after a series of cricketing greats labelled his position as head coach untenable - despite Cricket Australia's integrity unit yet to finalise its investigation into the scandal.
London's Telegraph reports Lehmann will stand down in the next 24 hours and informed Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland of his decision on Monday (AEDT).
The report claims Lehmann's decision is the reason Sutherland finally decided to travel to South Africa on Monday (AEDT).
It follows reports Western Australia coach Justin Langer has already been sounded out by Cricket Australia to step in as interim coach for the Fourth Test in Johannesburg beginning Friday.
Cricket commentators on Monday accused Lehmann and captain Steve Smith of twisting the Australian team's culture into an "out of control" mess.
In his memorable press conference following the third day of play in the Third Test in Cape Town, Smith declared the decision to tamper with the ball using a poorly concealed piece of tape was the result of a collective meeting of the team's "leadership group".
He repeatedly said Lehmann was not involved in the decision.
However, television broadcast vision which surfaced on Monday also appeared to show Lehmann speaking on a radio to Peter Handscomb moments before the Australian 12th man walked out to the middle of the field to deliver a message to Smith.
Busted ball-tamperer Cameron Bancroft then reportedly tried to conceal the foreign tape he used to scuff up the ball down his pants minutes after the message had been delivered to the Australians in the field.
Aussie cricket commentator Jim Maxwell on Monday joined Aussie cricket great Simon Katich in declaring Lehmann would be removed as head coach as a result of the ball tampering scandal.
"This has been festering for a while in Australia's attitude," Maxwell told ABC Breakfast.
"All this nonsense about not stepping over the line, the way they behaved as badly as South Africa in that rancorous test match in Durban where they kept cursing the opposition and carrying on in an aggressive way reflected the lack of judgment.
"Unfortunately the arrogance that sprung from that has led to this appalling decision - premeditated - to try and do something to the condition of the ball.
"We know there has been ball tampering but none of it has been to this level of deceit in terms of the umpires and the opposition and the way it was perpetrated.
"I would think the fall out from this is that Smith will lose the captaincy, Warner the vice captaincy and Lehmann his job as the coach."
Lehmann is yet to make any public comment about the scandal since television cameras first caught opening batsman Bancroft attempting to scuff up the ball with concealed tape on Saturday night (AEDT).
English Test great Kevin Pietersen and injured South African fast-bowler Dale Steyn have also suggested their belief that Lehmann was involved in some way.
For now, he remains innocent until proven guilty.
English Test great Kevin Pietersen also declared earlier this week that Lehmann's tenure as coach was surely over.
Slept on it...Lehmann, Saker & the leaderships groups jobs are untenable!— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 25, 2018
They’ve disgraced a great cricketing nation & Test cricket!
2 men can restore that Baggy Green now - Justin Langer & Ricky Ponting.— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 26, 2018
Men with immense Pride, Honour, Courage, Integrity & RESPECT!
They should be flying to SA with James Sutherland RIGHT NOW!
Anyone heard from Lehmann? Saker?— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) March 25, 2018
That’s Head Coach & Bowling Coach. Pretty instrumental in all of this...
Bud you know nothing in professional sport is done without the consent of your captain and coach... Tough times ahead.— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) March 24, 2018
My two penneth.— Graemefowler (@GFoxyFowler) March 25, 2018
Cricket Aus should have suspended Smith, Warner and Bancroft with immediate effect. Forfeited the test match. Then conduct a full enquiry.
He joined the growing number of cricket commentators to demand Smith be removed from the captaincy.
"Australia seem totally out of control to me with no leadership of management - either captaincy or coach or chief executive - and it hasn't gone down well over there," Lloyd told Skysports.com.
"If you are a terrific cricket team you want to be remembered as that - wonderful players, wonderful people. Australia have got a long way to go."