Lehmann backs ICC drive against suspect actions
Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, has praised the ICC's recent crackdown on suspect bowling actions, saying it is good for the game. Since July 2014, the ICC's match officials have reported six bowlers for suspect actions, including Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal. Ajmal, who has been Pakistan's lead spinner across formats was banned last week after being reported during the Galle Test against Sri Lanka.
Lehmann had earlier raised the issue of suspect actions, specifically against West Indies' Marlon Samuels during the Big Bash League 2012-13. Lehmann had questioned the legitimacy of Samuels' action after the bowler had been reported during IPL 2012. Lehmann was also recently nominated to the ICC Cricket Committee that had pushed for better methods to detect flex and suggested more support for match officials to identify illegal actions with confidence.
"The ICC have obviously decided to have a crackdown on it and that's good for the game. We've got to make sure that area is right," Lehmann told radio channel, Fiveaa. "If you're within the rules then fine, if you're not, then you've got to be looked at. That's what they have decided to do. They have had a real crackdown on four-five players of late so what that tells coaches and players, and everyone coming through the game and the young guys, is you won't be able to do any of that moving forward."
Discussing Australia's performance in the triangular series in Zimbabwe, Lehmann said he was disappointed with the final result but acknowledged the series had allowed the team management to get a look at a few players before the World Cup.
Australia were beaten by Zimbabwe and South Africa in the league stage of the tri-series, before they lost to South Africa by six wickets in the final. Despite the performances, Lehmann said Australia had a better experience in the tournament by testing a few youngsters against players like AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and had also gained insights into South Africa's preparations for the World Cup.
"Obviously the results were a bit disappointing but we found a few and we haven't seen a couple of these guys at that level," he said. "You've got to remember we played against a very good side and came up against the best players in the world in [Faf] du Plessis and [AB] de Villiers.
"It was very good for our young players to see that kind of team. We probably got more out of the tournament than South Africa did. We know exactly how they're going to shape up and what they are going to do. They won't change their set-up. So we know what to expect from them. Obviously, the wickets are nothing like the Australian wickets, so that's an advantage. They have a very good bowling attack, but it's good to see them close-up."
Lehmann also brushed aside suggestions of issues with Michael Clarke after the Australia captain criticised team selection during the triangular series. Clarke, who had to leave Zimbabwe after just one game due to a hamstring injury, had expressed his unhappiness over the selectors' decision to omit Steven Smith from the XI during the three-wicket loss to Zimbabwe. Responding to Clarke's comments at the time, Lehmann had said he would have preferred to have their conversations kept out of the media.
"[There's] Nothing. He said something, I said something. That's what happened," Lehmann said. "Clarke and I laughed about that last couple of days, it's been quite interesting. No issues whatsoever. We deal with those issues straightaway and move on. Captains will be disappointed when they lose, as they should be, and as we want him to be. We were disappointed and that's the way it goes sometimes.
"You are allowed to make mistakes. There are no issues from Michael's end, or my end or anyone's end. It's been out more in the media."