BRISTOL: Darren Lehmann insisted it was still possible for Australia to win the Ashes despite the upheaval that led to his appointment as the new head coach of the national side.
Lehmann was brought in after South African Mickey Arthur, the first non-Australian to coach the team, was sensationally sacked 16 days before the first Test in Nottingham after several high-profile on and off-field embarrassments for the team.
Even prior to these incidents, many pundits made England, bidding for a third straight Test series win over Australia, favourites for the Ashes.
But despite everything that has happened in recent weeks, Lehmann was in bullish mood when asked if Australia could still regain the Ashes.
“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,” said Lehmann. “I am excited by the challenge.”
Lehmann said he was keen to join forces with Australia captain and star batsman Michael Clarke, currently sidelined by a back injury.
“I am looking forward to working with Clarke closely.”
Australia leg-spin great Shane Warne, now working as a television commentator, has been suggested as someone Lehmann could bring on board.
“We would love him in the room,” said Lehmann. “You don’t have a guy take 700 Test wickets and not use him if he is around the place.”
But Lehmann knows his tenure won’t be defined by the people he consults but by Australia’s results on the field.
“If Clarke gets some runs I will be ok. But if we don’t win I will go.”
Rotation policy to be ditched for Ashes
Australia are shelving their controversial rotation policy for back-to-back Ashes campaigns that are in danger of falling into complete disarray.
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 chief executive James Sutherland confirmed that the strongest available side would be selected throughout the Ashes.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2013.
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