New-look Aussies ‘copped a lot’, says Lehmann

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia coach Dar­ren Lehmann said his play­ers “copped a lot” of crit­i­cism be­fore they em­phat­i­cally halted a run of Test de­feats against South Africa, adding that he’d love to keep his new-look team to­gether.

Lehmann said he was de­lighted for the ex­per­i­men­tal side, which fea­tured five changes in­clud­ing three debu­tants, as Aus­tralia’s se­lec­tion gam­ble paid off in the third Test against South Africa.

The Aus­tralians ended a five-Test los­ing streak with a com­mand­ing seven-wicket vic­tory over the Proteas, af­ter be­ing well beaten in the pre­vi­ous two games of the three-Test se­ries.

“Well, we won,” he said, when asked what the dif­fer­ence was com­pared to the first two Tests, which left Aus­tralia on the verge of their first ever home Test se­ries white­wash. “I’m just pleased for the play­ers. The play­ers have copped a lot over the last few weeks and they’ve re­sponded re­ally well. Ob­vi­ously a change of play­ers as well. “You feel sad for the blokes who missed out in this Test match but the guys who came in did a re­ally good job... a new young group go­ing for­ward, re­ally pleased for them.”

Lehmann said the door wasn’t closed for the play­ers who were dropped, but added that he’d like to keep the new group to­gether-if that is pos­si­ble, with vary­ing play­ing con­di­tions and peaks and troughs in form. “You’d love to have con­ti­nu­ity all the time (but) in this day and age some­times that’s not pos­si­ble,” Lehmann said. “But you’d love to keep a group to­gether, a younger group es­pe­cially with David Warner be­ing our old­est at 30. “If you can keep the group to­gether for five years or so, or what­ever it is un­til the older guys go-it makes it eas­ier. “But then you’ve got dif­fer­ent con­di­tions and blokes in and out of form. So you just have to sum it up along the way, but yeah it’d be lovely to do that.”


Lehmann’s coach­ing role was un­der the spot­light dur­ing the run of de­feats, which prompted chair­man of se­lec­tors Rod Marsh to step down call­ing for some “fresh think­ing”.

One key crit­i­cism was the de­ci­sion to rest fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and John Ha­zle­wood for the 5-0 ODI de­feat in South Africa, with Proteas skip­per Faf du Plessis sug­gest­ing it gave his side a men­tal edge.

In Ade­laide, Starc and Ha­zle­wood hit form as they took 12 wick­ets be­tween them to bowl Aus­tralia to vic­tory in the day-night third Test in Ade­laide.

Lehmann said there were no plans to rest them for the up­com­ing, three-match ODI se­ries against New Zealand-although he wasn’t sure if they would play ev­ery game. “(They will) play. We get in trou­ble if we don’t play (them)... They’re go­ing to play. At some stage,” he said.

Lehmann added: “We gave them a break, didn’t we? So they should get through the (Aus­tralian) sum­mer.

“But we got in trou­ble for that as well. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Straight-talk­ing Lehmann also brushed off high per­for­mance man­ager Pat Howard’s call for him to “rein­vent”, say­ing: “I was go­ing to wear a suit to the press con­fer­ence. I didn’t. “I chose not to.”—AFP

MO­HALI: In­dia’s Ajinkya Ra­hane, left, and Parthiv Patel, cen­ter, make a suc­cess­ful ap­peal against Eng­land’s Ben Stokes, right, on the third day of their third cricket test match in Mo­hali, In­dia, yes­ter­day. —AP

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