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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

'We weren't so bad': Darren Lehmann on his shamed Australia side

The former Australia coach backed new supremo Langer's mission to improve perception of team after ball-tampering scandal

Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann feels some of the accusations made against his side while he was in charge was unfairly represented. Getty Images
Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann feels some of the accusations made against his side while he was in charge was unfairly represented. Getty Images

Former Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann has defended the behaviour of his sides while he was in charge and said "they're not as bad as portrayed in the media".

Lehmann stepped down from his position in March after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for a year for being involved in a ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in the third Test in Cape Town, with Cameron Bancroft suspended for nine months.

The incident had come after Australia's on-field behaviour had come in for criticism, with their use of 'sledinging' being called into question.

But Lehmann felt Australia had been given an unfair representation and that what the side had been accused of doing under his watch was no worse then what other teams in the past had done.

Asked during an interview with Macquarie Sports Radio, with who he will now be doing media commentary work for, if he would have changed anything about the culture of the Australia squad if he could have his time over again in charge, he said "No".

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"There was a lot of talk about the Australian team being over-aggressive and there were some incidents in some games that they probably pushed it too far.

"They got dealt with accordingly from the ICC and match referee when they crossed that line but the Australians play that way in essence a lot of the time.

"You want to promote the game fairly and play hard but fair on the field. They’re not as bad as portrayed in the media."

Australia now have Lehmann's former Test playing teammate Justin Langer as coach, while wicket-keeper Tim Paine is captaining the side.

Langer will bring Australia to the UAE for a two-match Test series against Pakistan in October, with the dates and locations for the matches yet to be confirmed.

Since taking over in charge Langer has spoken publicly about Australia turning over a new leaf under his watch and said in May that "the behaviours" of the players must be good.

Lehmann echoed that it was important that the country was able to move on from the incidents in March, and believed that following in the footsteps of New Zealand, who have been lauded for their sportsmanship on the cricket field in recent years, would be the right way to go.

"Playing like New Zealand will certainly help win the fans back over, and that’s important because we want kids playing the great game of cricket. But you also need to win, win a certain way."

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