Aussie coach hails ‘Brad­man-like’ Smith

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralian coach Dar­ren Lehmann has hailed cap­tain Steve Smith as “Brad­man-like” af­ter a hard-fought and fiery Test tour against In­dia, while prais­ing the en­tire “im­pres­sive” team.

In­dia won the bad-tem­pered se­ries 2-1 af­ter a thump­ing eightwicket win in Dharam­sala this week, with ten­sions fre­quently boil­ing over.

Smith, who struck a con­cil­ia­tory tone at the end af­ter run-ins with his op­po­site num­ber Vi­rat Kohli, led from the front, scor­ing three hun­dreds among his 499 runs in four Tests.

Lehmann said he had not only been “bril­liant” with the bat, but also showed lead­er­ship which could see him be­come one of the great mod­ern Test cap­tains.

“He’s been un­be­liev­able. He’s been Brad­man-like with the bat but all the stuff be­hind the scenes has been ex­cep­tional,” the coach said in com­ments on the Cricket Aus­tralia web­site yes­ter­day, re­fer­ring to leg­endary Aus­tralian Don Brad­man.

“Re­ally pleased for him and what he’s brought to the team as a leader. Three hun­dreds in four Test matches is pretty spe­cial.”

De­spite the fire­works, and the se­ries de­feat, it was a pos­i­tive tour for Aus­tralia, just months af­ter they suf­fered one of the worst runs in their his­tory.

Lehmann, speak­ing from In­dia, said he was re­ally happy with how the team per­formed in In­dian con­di­tions and un­der in­tense pres­sure.

“The way they’ve gone about it has been im­pres­sive. They (the Aus­tralia team) have been young, they’ve been up against it, the pitches have been as we would ex­pect,” he said.

“There’s a lot of learn­ing in this group over this tour.

“They’re all hurt­ing and dis­ap­pointed for the re­sult but re­ally pleased with the ef­fort and the at­ti­tude and try­ing to change the way we play here. “

But it was Smith who was the stand­out for Lehmann, who played un­der for­mer Test skip­pers Mark Tay­lor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

He praised his tac­ti­cal mind and evo­lu­tion as a leader, sug­gest­ing he could be cap­tain for years more hav­ing as­sumed the man­tle from Michael Clarke.

“Yeah, I think so,” Lehmann said when asked if he could prove to be at least the equal of Tay­lor, Waugh and Ponting.

“He’s a dif­fer­ent leader to Michael, to Ricky, to Mark Tay­lor, to Steve Waugh,” he said.

“And he’s work­ing out his own iden­tity as a cap­tain. But I’ve been proud of him; ev­ery­one has been proud of him. So, pleased with where he is go­ing and he’ll just get bet­ter and bet­ter.” AFP

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