Lehmann quits first-class cricket
Darren Lehmann has announced his retirement from first-class cricket, citing injury concerns and "other frustrations" as the reasons he is ending his 20-year career. Lehmann will make two farewell appearances for South Australia against Western Australia at the Adelaide Oval, in an FR Cup match on Wednesday and a Pura Cup game starting on Friday.
Lehmann, 37, stepped down as the Redbacks captain at the end of last summer following the side's disappointing Pura Cup campaign that resulted in only one win. Although he was keen to stay on as a player, he struggled with a persistent Achilles tendon injury during the off-season and hamstring problems have also kept him out of two Pura Cup games and one FR Cup match already this summer.
"The past 12 months have not been easy," Lehmann said. "Ongoing concerns and conjecture about whether I could remain injury free and finish the season as well as other frustrations have contributed to my decision to retire.
"It was always my plan to retire while I was still performing well at first-class level. This goal was important to me and injuries aside I think I have been true to it."
While the injuries were his primary reason for quitting the game, there had also been reports that his frosty relationship with Rod Marsh, South Australia's high performance director, had played a part. Lehmann did little to douse that speculation while announcing his decision.
"Rod, as a player, was one of the guys I loved and idolised," Lehmann said. "His views and I differ on the way to manage cricket teams and that's probably all I'd like to say on that one."
Lehmann's departure brings to an end of one of the most decorated careers in Australia's domestic history. Since making his debut for South Australia at the age of 17 in 1987-88, Lehmann has become the highest run scorer of all-time in Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup matches, with 13,468 runs at 54.52. He was also a prolific scorer at Yorkshire and in total he made 25,628 first-class runs at 57.79.
Although his Test career was limited to 27 appearances, during which he made 1798 runs at 44.95, Lehmann was a goliath of the Australian domestic scene. He was named the State Player of the Year in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and was also a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2001.
He had the honour of striking the winning runs in Australia's World Cup triumph at Lord's in 1999 and helped the side defend that title four years later. Lehmann was a key member of South Australia's Sheffield Shield-winning side in 1995-96, having also played a part in Victoria's title in 1990-91 during his brief stint in Melbourne.