x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Darren Lehmann eyes Ashes glory with help from Shane Warne

New coach says Australian cricket team's dressing room could benefit from the presence of legends such the former leg-spinner.

Shane Warne has taken 708 Test wickets for Australia. David Gray / Reuters
Shane Warne has taken 708 Test wickets for Australia. David Gray / Reuters

New Australia coach Darren Lehmann would welcome Shane Warne into the Australia set-up.

Lehmann, who was on Monday unveiled as the successor to the sacked Micky Arthur, will take up the reins immediately and lead his side into an Ashes series against England.

Lehmann won the urn twice as a player with Warne and spent four years alongside him in the Victoria dressing room.

"We would love him [Warne] in the room. The past legends is what we are about," said Lehmann.

"Having guys involved in our current structure and having some sort of input. You don't have a guy take 700 Test wickets and not use him if he is around the place. He is always welcome as is anyone who has represented Australia in our dressing room. I will be after the past players to use their knowledge and guidance along the way.

"If he [Warne] is around, and I know he is commentating with Sky all the time, then we will certainly use him. I have had some great messages. They [past players] are an important part of what we are trying to create."

Victories have been hard to come by for the Australians recently with a 4-0 whitewash at the hands of India a major factor in Arthur's dismissal.

"We will get everything right on and off the field," said Lehmann. "It is important to talk about the game whether it be with a beer or a diet coke in your hand. I don't care. It is about learning the game and improving our skills on and off the field and that is what we are about.

"This journey over the next two months during the Ashes we will learn about ourselves as cricketers and people which is really important and performing at the level everyone would expect us to to back home. That is where that comes into it. Learning about where we can do things differently.

"Yes definitely we can still win the Ashes. The team is going to play in a certain way. We are going to play an aggressive brand of cricket that entertains people and fans and gets the job done on and off the field.

"I am excited by the challenge. I am looking forward to working with Michael [Clarke] closely and the other team members and look forward to them having success throughout this tour."

Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, has insisted the team are only looking forward despite admitting his shock at Arthur's sacking.

"For us as a group, and now for Darren, it is important we look forward to what we have ahead of us and our focused on having success on this tour," he said. "We need to stay focused on our performance and make sure we are performing much better than we have been on this tour and how we did on our last tour in India.

"Like everyone I was shocked at the time, I guess it was over the past 24 hours that I allowed it to sink in and for me to then keep my focus on what is important as a player."

Australia to drop rotation policy

Meanwhile, Australia are shelving their controversial rotation policy.

Described as "informed player management" by national selector John Inverarity, the policy designed to safeguard key players from burn-out has drawn heavy criticism from the media and a number of former internationals.

Struggling for form and beset by disciplinary issues, rotating players is a luxury the team cannot afford and Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland confirmed that the strongest available side would be selected throughout the Ashes.

"...looking ahead to the Ashes series in England and next [southern hemisphere] summer in Australia, you won't see any of that rotation policy, as you call it, in the fashion that we have in the past," Sutherland said on ABC radio.

"It's about providing opportunities to players for a team that's in transition, so the selectors can give players opportunities at international level and see how they cope with that and respond," he said.

"For well over a decade, the Australian selectors have adopted a policy of doing that, particularly with one-day cricket.

"I've got no doubt that will continue but for Ashes Test matches, we will day-in, day-out be picking our best team."

The decision is likely to be welcomed by Lehmann, who has been critical of the policy in the past.

Australia play a four-day tour match against Somerset from Wednesday before the first Test of the five-match Ashes series starts at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on July 10.

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