Australia news April 1, 2015

Lehmann defends Haddin sledging

Lehmann: "We like to play our game, no one got reported out of the game, so we must have played it fair" © Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has mounted a defence of the vice captain, Brad Haddin, saying his aggressive antics towards New Zealand in the World Cup final were in accordance with the team's plans for the tournament decider.

Haddin has been roundly criticised for being the ringleader of several send-offs to departing New Zealand batsmen in Australia's comfortable victory, something he later put down to feeling "uncomfortable" at how "nice" the same opponents had been during an earlier pool match in Auckland.

Speaking to Adelaide radio station 5AA, Lehmann said the Australians had played the final the way they wanted to, and admitted the team plans had called for a "really aggressive" approach towards New Zealand to throw them off their rhythm. He also noted the lack of ICC code of conduct reports out of the game, and was dismissive of complaints about the team's alcohol-soaked celebrations.

"He's copped a bit, hasn't he?" Lehmann said of Haddin. "We like to play our game, no-one got reported out of the game, so we must have played it fair. It was a little bit disappointing, but people are entitled to their opinions and you're going to have good and bad times. You accept that and you move on.

"We're happy with the way we played obviously. We knew we wanted to be really aggressive against them, and look, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

"You're supposed to enjoy it, enjoy it in the right way and look after yourself and look after everyone else, that's the main thing. Everyone's entitled to their opinions."

More critical than Haddin's actions, Lehmann felt, was the first over dismissal of Brendon McCullum by Mitchell Starc, a moment that had the previously confident and fearless New Zealand side retreating into themselves with tentative play typified by Martin Guptill's dismissal by Glenn Maxwell.

"You like it when a plan comes together don't you, especially so early in the game and it sets the tone," Lehmann said. "It was interesting once that happened they went into their shells a bit New Zealand, which was surprising, so allowed us to control the game. James Faulkner... when they just looked like they were getting into the game he came through with that spell in the Powerplay."

Running his eye over Australia's West Indies and Ashes squads, Lehmann said he was looking forward to seeing the wrist spinner Fawad Ahmed acquitted himself, selected ahead of Adam Zampa and Cameron Boyce for reasons of experience - ditto Adam Voges ahead of Joe Burns.

"He gives us that added variation you might need in the West Indies and England, with the off spinner in Lyon and the bloke who takes it away in the leg spinner who we rate highly," Lehmann said. "We went with experience more than anything else, someone who's been around for a bit. Adam Zampa and Cameron Boyce in Queensland we felt just fell away a bit towards the back end of the season with their bowling."

Lehmann and the team staff will now enjoy a brief holiday before reconvening in Brisbane to prepare for the dual tours of the West Indies and England, in contrast to Lehmann's entry into the Australian job on the day the 2013 Ashes tour began, in place of Mickey Arthur.

"The preparation [for the 2013 Ashes] wasn't quite there as I would have liked, I got thrown into it just before they all met up," Lehmann said. "We've got a lot more planning to do this time, which is nice, and I think we've got a great mix in that squad.

"We meet up in mid-May for the West Indies tour so looking forward to that. You move on pretty quickly, you enjoy what it is and what it was, a pretty special seven weeks in all our lives, the fifth time Australia won the World Cup, but you also have an eye to the future to work out what you've got to do to get moving again."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments