The Investec Ashes 2013 July 1, 2013

Lehmann euphoria leaves England wary

The instalment of Darren Lehmann, a cricketing Falstaff who likes a drink and a chat, as Australia's new coach has given this Ashes its own particular zing
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There is a wariness about England ahead of the Investec Ashes series that would have been unimaginable a fortnight ago. A cricketing Falstaff is forever imagined as propped against the bar, talking about the game until the night is old. Darren Lehmann is coach of Australia and suddenly everybody senses a contest.

"Jump on board and enjoy the ride," he said ahead of their final warm-up against Worcestershire. It is the message Australia needs.

If Australia win this series against the odds, perhaps beer and fags will become a fashionable cricketing accoutrement again. There is something about a few beers - taken in moderation, naturally - that typifies Lehmann's philosophy. This philosophy is a good one.

It involves camaraderie and honest, from-the-heart opinions. It involves trust and the unerring sense that you can beat the world. It fosters self-belief. On a good day - or night - it brings occasional flashes of insight. England must make Australia sober up as soon as possible because in the mood they are now, slightly tipsy in the belief that they have miraculously regrouped, Australia are dangerous.

Coaching comes naturally to Lehmann; it just took Australia a long time to realise it. Just as England can surprise itself occasionally with its own radicalism, so Australia, the original Young Country, is more awash with conservatism than it likes to admit. It has taken a crisis for them to pin faith in Lehmann's cricketing nous. Thrown a hospital pass, he will begin by mending minds rather than techniques.

It is easy to patronise Lehmann, of course, as an old-fashioned cricket coach who loves nothing but beer-fuelled cricket chat. "Very much so," he smiled, "but I'll leave it like that." Here is a coach who is also perfectly adept at studying the data but who has the knack of slipping it into a player's consciousness without them even knowing. You have to sugar the pill.

So instead he tells the beer story. "I was supposed to be up in Yorkshire with my wife having a barbecue and a beer at the moment with some family. I'm a bit disappointed we are not playing at Headingley but that will keep me out of trouble for a start. Times have changed, it's been an eventful few days."

Mention of Yorkshire is hugely appropriate because this is where his reinvention began. It is where Lehmann, first as player then as captain, was so revered that it changed Australia's perception for ever. He was adopted by a county that prided itself in loving his straight-talking but that, more importantly, was also transformed by his positivity.

Lehmann sensed that in the north of England he could do business. He averaged not far short of 70, one of the finest overseas players ever to tread the county circuit. Australia took another look and gave him 27 Test caps and a long one-day career.

He went on to become Ricky Ponting's favourite sounding board, finally recognised as a man steeped in the game, full of good principles. Not before time.

In his last Yorkshire game, against Durham at Headingley, with Yorkshire needing points to avoid relegation, he made a triple-century and fell just short of George Hirst's record score for the county, made in 1905. Hirst's record is treasured by those Yorkshire members steeped in history; Lehmann's years at Yorkshire had gradually won them over.

"He is tough. He will tell people home truths. I know because he is one of the three biggest influences in my career. He taught me to enjoy playing the game and talking about it after play. He will do that with this young Australian team"
Michael Vaughan on Darren Lehmann

It was an extraordinary morning. Lehmann had enthralled them for several seasons with his strong-arm drives and extraordinary manipulation. But he had also reminded them of something more special. He reminded them how to find a joy in the game, which in the county's endless power struggles they had mislaid. As he passed 300 and then got out, quite tamely, grown men had tears in their eyes. I know this for a fact because I had left the media box to applaud him in.

In a county so proud of its homegrown talent, there was a heretical admission that Lehmann was one of the finest players in Yorkshire's history.

"I nivver thought ah'd want an Aussie to beat Hirst's record," said one Yorkshire stalwart, acting as if to flick through a book on the second-hand bookstall. "But if anyone deserved to beat it, it was Lehmann." Then he paused. "Anyroad, he's got 300 and he hasn't quite managed it, so t'job's a good un."

That begins to explain why England are so wary. Michael Vaughan was often absent with England during Lehmann's Yorkshire years, but when Lehmann was appointed, he abandoned his habitual taunting of Australia on Twitter with a heartfelt accolade. From Lehmann, he learned to play his cricket aggressively, with character, and to view his immersion in the game not as a reason for embarrassment but as a vital part of his progression as a cricketer.

"Don't be fooled by his history of liking a drink and a smoke," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "He is tough. He will tell people home truths. I know because he is one of the three biggest influences in my career. He taught me to enjoy playing the game and talking about it after play. He will do that with this young Australian team. He will encourage the lads to have a beer and discuss things. It will be old school.

Lehmann, although Yorkshire captain in name, increasingly had influence more akin to a player coach. "I have always had that teaching role even when playing, as an older player," he said. "I didn't know whether I would enjoy coaching full time or not until I went to the Indian Premier League with Adam Gilchrist and I just fell in love with it. People say you can't love it more than playing, but for some reason I do, I absolutely love it. You wish you could still play but you just get older, older and wider."

The transcript is not entirely clear. He might have said "wiser". No matter.

Mickey Arthur, sacked a week ago as Australia's coach, has since had to cope with personal grief after the death of his mother. It cannot have been an easy time. He is an immensely affable man and was deeply protective of Australia's players to the end. He was able to play hard cop as he did at Western Australia or dance to the tune of "rounded player development" as he did for Cricket Australia. He deserves another gig somewhere. But there is an air of middle management about him. Perhaps that is where the disconnect occurred.

Lehmann, however much he is trying to adopt a graver persona, does fun. May he do it forever. He even admitted to playfully texting Andy Flower, England's coach, over recent days, a detail that Flower himself, a more private individual, would never have publicly revealed.

"It will be a great battle," Lehmann said. "I've obviously played with Andy for a couple of years at South Australia when he was there, so we know each other quite well. It will be interesting to see how that transpires. I loved him as a man - great man. We have already started the banter on the texts - he is winning that at the moment but I've had a bit on."

It was an intriguing story. Did he realise that England, for all the high esteem in which Flower is held, are suspected of, to put it bluntly, a little control-freakery? Was this an innocent observation of a bit of banter between two good mates or also a cleverly planted story to lift the troops?

And the troops are certainly lifted. Round Lehmann was the excited chatter of an Australia side that in a matter of days feels good in itself again. Suddenly, this is an Ashes series developing its own particular zing. Once again, everybody can hardly wait for it to begin.

"I can't see why England wouldn't be favourites," Lehmann said. "They've had a good 12 months, they are well read, and well coached. The advantage I have is coming in as a fresh face and hopefully changing some ideas."

Does his appointment signify the re-emergence of the archetypal Australian male? It is a question he has become used to.

"Yes, probably, for some good and bad reasons I'm sure," he said. "I'm not going to change the way I am. Hopefully we have some success doing it and I'm sure the boys are going to have some fun."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 1, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    I have been living in the big Ol' USA for the past 25+ years and am a big fan of Base Ball too [of course Being Indian Cricket rules]. Couple of years ago Buck Showalter took over as the manger of the Baltimore Orioles and has turned the team around to be contender from laughing stock. Now reading all about Lehman - though he has not won one international for Australia - I am getting the same vibe. Leadership does matter [Worrell, Lloyd, Border, Dhoni and so on] and can never be underestimated. Australia have a proud cricketing heritage to live up and what better place to regroup and regain some of the past glory than England. Hope there is some excellent cricket for fans to enjoy.

  • popcorn on July 3, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    England are running scared,and that's good news for us.

  • jr1972 on July 3, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    To suggest that England are all of a sudden wary because of a change of coach is simply ludicrous. England won't underestimate Australia and were never in danger of doing so.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 3, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Having Lehmann around will definitely take a lot of the pressure off Clarke. These young blokes will have no problem having a beer with Boof, it's a traditional Australian cricket culture that blokes will be happy to be a part of. I'm sure Warney would have loved a coach like this!

  • Ms.Cricket on July 3, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Lehmann is a very welcome positive addition. Michael Clarke needs to go as captain for the team to show more improvement. Clarke's batting been outstanding but his captaincy has been weird - strange team selections, too much personal pickings and droppings, funny declarations, creating too much anxiety in players, too much theory and less spontaneity.

  • Shaggy076 on July 3, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    A lot of people are missing that before AUstralias tour of India - they had had exceptional form for 18 months. Where they went in a bees whisker of beating South Africa in Adelaide, who are clearly the best team going around at the moment in test cricket (unfortunately the strain created from this game set them up for a disappointing end to the series.) With a form line as good if not better than England. Then along came India, unsuitable wickets for Australian batsman and it seemed to be crumbling around. The mind had taken a beating. With change the mind is release and returning to the form prior to India is all AUstralia need to be competitive. English scribes and past players have dealt out unhealthy expectations on what can be described as a good but not great side. Going back 5 months I thought this series was going to be close and again I believe Australia certainly have a very good chance.

  • couchpundit on July 3, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Lets see how Clarke have his back stabbing wys now, and if he still manages to back stab anybody we know lehman is not what he was.

  • Chris_P on July 2, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    I enjoyed the part about his Yorkshire stint. When I last travelled through there, many of them were still telling stories of his great impact & the way he fitted in. They also appreciated Michael Bevan's input as a cricketer, but as an overall person, influence, Boof appeared to have captured their hearts, sort of like a foster son of the county. I recall an article at the time written by a Yorkshire journalist headlining the article about Lehmann as "Almost a Geordie" which, I guess, is about as high as accolade as the people of Yorkshire could say about anyone. Boof is someone who could never dislike.

  • docamit on July 2, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Before Lehmann came it was looking like that australia will be rolled over now after his inclusion in the team as a coach the aussey fighting spirit and attitude is coming back and thats obvious in the two practice matches, now it seems that the ashes will be really hard fought close encounter and my prediction is that it will be 2-2 drawn series.

  • cricketeria on July 2, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    I don't think this changes much. No one was crying out for Mickey Arthur to quit, let alone for Lehmann to be appointed. Did a single commentator/pundit say the words "Drop Arthur, sign Lehmann"? No. It's only after Lehmann came on that everyone's saying "Brilliant! 5-0 Australia!" Come on. The coach can only coach, he can't play. SA recently beat England despite Andy Flower. Aus beat India despite Duncan Fletcher. I think Lehmann's a good choice but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

  • on July 1, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    I have been living in the big Ol' USA for the past 25+ years and am a big fan of Base Ball too [of course Being Indian Cricket rules]. Couple of years ago Buck Showalter took over as the manger of the Baltimore Orioles and has turned the team around to be contender from laughing stock. Now reading all about Lehman - though he has not won one international for Australia - I am getting the same vibe. Leadership does matter [Worrell, Lloyd, Border, Dhoni and so on] and can never be underestimated. Australia have a proud cricketing heritage to live up and what better place to regroup and regain some of the past glory than England. Hope there is some excellent cricket for fans to enjoy.

  • popcorn on July 3, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    England are running scared,and that's good news for us.

  • jr1972 on July 3, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    To suggest that England are all of a sudden wary because of a change of coach is simply ludicrous. England won't underestimate Australia and were never in danger of doing so.

  • Barnesy4444 on July 3, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Having Lehmann around will definitely take a lot of the pressure off Clarke. These young blokes will have no problem having a beer with Boof, it's a traditional Australian cricket culture that blokes will be happy to be a part of. I'm sure Warney would have loved a coach like this!

  • Ms.Cricket on July 3, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Lehmann is a very welcome positive addition. Michael Clarke needs to go as captain for the team to show more improvement. Clarke's batting been outstanding but his captaincy has been weird - strange team selections, too much personal pickings and droppings, funny declarations, creating too much anxiety in players, too much theory and less spontaneity.

  • Shaggy076 on July 3, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    A lot of people are missing that before AUstralias tour of India - they had had exceptional form for 18 months. Where they went in a bees whisker of beating South Africa in Adelaide, who are clearly the best team going around at the moment in test cricket (unfortunately the strain created from this game set them up for a disappointing end to the series.) With a form line as good if not better than England. Then along came India, unsuitable wickets for Australian batsman and it seemed to be crumbling around. The mind had taken a beating. With change the mind is release and returning to the form prior to India is all AUstralia need to be competitive. English scribes and past players have dealt out unhealthy expectations on what can be described as a good but not great side. Going back 5 months I thought this series was going to be close and again I believe Australia certainly have a very good chance.

  • couchpundit on July 3, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Lets see how Clarke have his back stabbing wys now, and if he still manages to back stab anybody we know lehman is not what he was.

  • Chris_P on July 2, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    I enjoyed the part about his Yorkshire stint. When I last travelled through there, many of them were still telling stories of his great impact & the way he fitted in. They also appreciated Michael Bevan's input as a cricketer, but as an overall person, influence, Boof appeared to have captured their hearts, sort of like a foster son of the county. I recall an article at the time written by a Yorkshire journalist headlining the article about Lehmann as "Almost a Geordie" which, I guess, is about as high as accolade as the people of Yorkshire could say about anyone. Boof is someone who could never dislike.

  • docamit on July 2, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Before Lehmann came it was looking like that australia will be rolled over now after his inclusion in the team as a coach the aussey fighting spirit and attitude is coming back and thats obvious in the two practice matches, now it seems that the ashes will be really hard fought close encounter and my prediction is that it will be 2-2 drawn series.

  • cricketeria on July 2, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    I don't think this changes much. No one was crying out for Mickey Arthur to quit, let alone for Lehmann to be appointed. Did a single commentator/pundit say the words "Drop Arthur, sign Lehmann"? No. It's only after Lehmann came on that everyone's saying "Brilliant! 5-0 Australia!" Come on. The coach can only coach, he can't play. SA recently beat England despite Andy Flower. Aus beat India despite Duncan Fletcher. I think Lehmann's a good choice but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

  • on July 2, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    can't believe that with just one appointment suddenly the pressure is deemed to be on the Poms.. the Aussie pace attack maybe comparable to the Eng but in all other depts they are woefully short. the Aussie batting weakness against swing is also well-known. so I don't expect anything other than a royal thumping from Eng..

  • heathrf1974 on July 2, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    I think Australia will improve under Lehmann mentally but England still are the superior side. However, I will be just happy to see a contest.

  • rappedonthepads on July 2, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    Lehmann has a tough job no doubt. Just browsed through the batting card of Australia against Worcestershire -and the team has Rogers, Cowan, Steve Smith, Phil Hughes, Haddin.... enough said.

  • The Tall Guy on July 2, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    As a lifelong England fan, I'm afraid to say this, but I think the appointment of Lehman was a stroke of genius. Not only has he been there and done it at the highest level, but he's not going to hide behind management speak and corporate rubbish. Sure he's going to fall out with the board, but his team are going to be 100% together in the knowledge that he's going to be 100% behind them.

    Lehman's got a tough job on his hands, but I think australian chances just got a whole lot better with him at the helm.

  • cloudmess on July 2, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    I feel we've definitely got a contest now, and as an England fan I'm worried. Of course there is more to being a coach than just making everyone feel good about themselves, but Australia had the balance tipped too much the other way before Lehmann's appointment. It's a balance England are in danger in getting wrong themselves at the moment. However, if Australia do go onto win against the odds, as in 1989 I think it will be bad poetry to blame.

  • dunger.bob on July 2, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    I agree with those that say the only thing that really counts are results. .. it was actually working fairly well for Aust. before SA, then India and finally the CT. . I think India shook us up more than we care to admit. ... that was pretty abject and, rightly or wrongly, we don't like to look abject. .. MA's fate was set in India and sealed in the Champions Trophy. .. Boof will be given a fair honeymoon then eye's will inevitably start looking at the results column. .. on the plus side, I'm a real believer in Old School cricket. .. play hard, bloody hard actually, but at the end of the day remember it's only a game. .. Boof will let them express themselves on the field but it's up to the players to prove they are good enough to mix it with England. .. Boof has made us think that maybe we can, and that can't be a bad thing for us or the series. .. who knows, it might even prove @ Cricket_is_Unpopular to be wrong again.

  • on July 2, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    A coach can just do about that much. Maybe aUSTRLIA can pull off a single draw or something. Other than that, atlest for this series, lhmann or whoever cant make no diffrence.

  • tickcric on July 2, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    As expected another quality article from Hopps. At the end of the day though, Lehamn wouldn't come in to bat. I don't know how far the Australia's batsmen will be able to lift themselves but the gulf between the two sides is fairly large.

  • whoster on July 2, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Appointing Lehmann as coach is the first sensible thing Australia have done this year. His CV as player and coach is highly impressive, and the bloke talks a lot of sense about the game. Mickey Arthur's approach may have worked with other teams, but an inexperienced side like Australia need a good man-manager who'll give them a bit of space. This is an appointment that's got universal approval, and Michael Vaughan, a Yorkshire team-mate of Lehmann's for nearly a decade, couldn't speak highly enough about him. He's already taken pressure off the players by emphasizing the enjoyment factor, and now there's a sense (certainly in England) that the Aussies could now be a threat. Even so, a coach is only as good as his side, and though their bowling attack looks good, they're still inexperienced at Test level. The big question mark for Australia is the batting, and a few of them will have to improve dramatically. England are still favourites, but Lehmann will undoubtedly give them a boost.

  • Green_and_Gold on July 2, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Australia always had the talent and skill - the players just didnt use it. Take a look at what Hilfy and Siddle did to India in Australia after they spent time with McDermott (then look at what happened in the return fixture without McD). A good leader will bring the best out of these guys at the right time. Show them how to use their talent to play well and ultimately to win. Lehmann - you beauty!!!

  • Rahul_78 on July 2, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    The odd thing that has tuck me in this whole saga is how the axis have shifted. Australian cricket has always been associated with strong and world class captains. The Chappell's, Borders and Waughas who lead from the front and carried the team on their shoulders. Coach or managers have always been a part of support structure to the skippers. But with Lehmans appointment suddenly the focus has shifted to the coach from captain. Clarke is a very good captain but he is very enforcing personality too. Dont know if the guys like Watson and others get too close to Lehman how Clarke will cope with it. In Arthurs era it was alleged that some guys were too close to Clarke and there were some old school and new school camps. It is all right to look at Lehman as a beer guzzling affable but tough messiah who will galvanized Aussie cricket. But ones the honeymoon period is over and if Anderson and Cook turn up the heat in 1st test it will be interesting to see the camaraderie and reactions.

  • on July 2, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    Buck Showalter could be given some credit but Lehman is more of a Terry Francona types.....Baltimores done well because of good scouting and use of sabremetrics....anyways Lehman's appointment probably wont result in an Ashes win now....the series in Australia could be a different story though

  • Sunil_Batra on July 2, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    Boof is doing a fantastic job, already he has sorted our best top 3 with Watson, Rogers and Khawaja looking like the guys for the first test. He has clarke moved up and Hughes settling well at 5 and he has a hungry Warner ready to come in at 6 with Smith and Cowan also figting for spots. This is what was missing under Arthur, some common sense approach to batting positions and batting folks where they are best suited, and i am excited to have him as our coach.

  • Galactus. on July 2, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Finally great to see a coach getting the credit... Hope to see a good performance from Australia just for the sake of the coach.....

  • Nutcutlet on July 2, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    With Lehmann's appointment, the retaining of the Ashes just got a whole lot tougher. Cometh the hour.. applies here & with England's notoriously slow starts to Test series, if Trent Bridge turns out to be an Australian win, then a series upset is def on the cards - & England had better acknowledge it. For many months now England has hardly been able to contain its Schadenfreude over Ozzie lack of focus (What's the best team? Rebels in the ranks - followed by stern 'exemplary' discipline for the larrikin trouble-makers; Clarke's back becoming as infamous as Compton's knee, etc.). IMO, the overwhelming factor responsible for the Ozzie sun beginning to shine again is the obvious: Lehmann is one of their own & Arthur isn't. The Saffer approach has always been earnest, even a little stern & perhaps not appreciative of the Aussie who's always taken pride in being anti-authoritarian, true to his immigrant roots of 1788. Ned Kelly has always inspired. Always will. Lehmann will relate to that.

  • jackiethepen on July 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Definitely put a zip into the campaign. What England have to worry about is that they have a very dour management with Flower and Gooch, unleavened by the kindness and personal affection that Strauss had for his players. I do worry that Flower's harsh regime will not be the best answer. We saw the stark differences between coaches when Gary Kirsten led South Africa and kept giving them days off instead of work schedules imposed by Flower. The England team then had a rebellious KP in their ranks and looked weary themselves. There was some of that weariness around at Essex in the batting from a team that had just done all the rounds in the Champions Trophy. Did it really need another public telling off by Gooch? Leahmann wants to encourage his team. I think that might work better. Grumbling all the time isn't inspiring.

  • sachin_vvsfan on July 2, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    "There is a wariness about England ahead of the Investec Ashes series that would have been unimaginable a fortnight ago" So true. After the Aus series at home i was tipping Eng to win the Ashes 3-0 . They were only destructing themselves under Arthur. A coach is as good as the team but a good coach brings out the best from the players.

    I still believe Eng holds the edge and are obvious favorites to win the Ashes. But will they win 3-0? I have doubts.

  • zenboomerang on July 2, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    What euphoria? If anything that is being media driven. The proof will be in the results in matches, but even that will be balanced against him just starting the job & if the bowlers perform (as the media has hyped them up over the last few mths) to expectation.

    The changes with Clarke stepping down from selector + that Lehmann is publicly picking the team (normally left to the captain) has been a change from normal protocol. It seems that Inverarity & Howard have given Boof different orders than what Arthur was required to follow & that Clarke has had his wings clipped. Given that Clarke already has a poor record with getting Symonds & Katich removed from the Oz Test team in the past, then the hiccup in India, perhaps management are looking a little more closely on his effect to the team...

  • on July 2, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    I don't care..all I need as an Indian cricket lover is a fair contest between two giant test playing nations. Australians know cricket as we all know many things about life, yet at times we do not perform..we feel weak and disoriented. This Australian team has to firstly lift themselves individually and be ready for the occasion. This is going to be quality stuff and nothing less from both sides gonna save them. Mr Lehmann, if you have the ointment...let's believe, it only takes a bit of that ointment for the horses to run hard again..should be fun..should be great cricket..England..come prepared..nothing is easy here no matter how many times you guys want to believe it!

  • Meety on July 2, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Hoping that Lehman's appointment is not too soon, but I suspect it will be the best managerial appointment that CA has made since Bobby Simpson as Coach. I was neverconvinced about Arthur's appointment, but in IF in the end it leads to a great appointment in Lehman - I'm happy.

    IF Lehman was coach instead of Nielsen (I know this is a re-imagining of timelines) - I reckon Symonds would still be playing International cricket.

  • somethingdifferent on July 2, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Best wishes to Darren Lehmann. I am sure he will do a much better job than Mickey Arthur, Although his coaching achievements so far are not as glossy as the likes of Gary Kirsten, Andy Flower, Bob Woolmer, Dunken Fletcher or Dave Whatmoore but his approach seems very positive and his attitude may really do good for the Australian Team. However realistically one should not expect too much for the ashes as he has hardly got any time to work with this team. True results will show after an extended run. Good luck.

  • DrJ-Detroit on July 2, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    It is quite a tradition to applaud and ascribe all sorts of good things to a new coach. Happens every time when someone new is appointed. The whispers begin once the coach starts to fail. The pundits come out in force, with statements such as "his beer and smoke approach was never gonna work in this day and age of the ipl....". Lets see what he does with the team before declaring him to the be second coming. Patience!

  • Teachers on July 1, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    With Leahmann in charge, the sports scientists will still be there, along with high performance managers and fitness coaches, and that is not such a bad thing for this Australian team at the moment. This could be the perfect blend of the old meeting the new. The icing on the cake will be the fun all will enjoy on the journey, win or lose.

  • Teachers on July 1, 2013, 22:22 GMT

    With Leahmann in charge, the sports scientists will still be there, along with high performance managers and fitness coaches, and that is not such a bad thing for this Australian team at the moment. This could be the perfect blend of the old meeting the new. The icing on the cake will be the fun all will enjoy on the journey, win or lose.

  • DrJ-Detroit on July 2, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    It is quite a tradition to applaud and ascribe all sorts of good things to a new coach. Happens every time when someone new is appointed. The whispers begin once the coach starts to fail. The pundits come out in force, with statements such as "his beer and smoke approach was never gonna work in this day and age of the ipl....". Lets see what he does with the team before declaring him to the be second coming. Patience!

  • somethingdifferent on July 2, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    Best wishes to Darren Lehmann. I am sure he will do a much better job than Mickey Arthur, Although his coaching achievements so far are not as glossy as the likes of Gary Kirsten, Andy Flower, Bob Woolmer, Dunken Fletcher or Dave Whatmoore but his approach seems very positive and his attitude may really do good for the Australian Team. However realistically one should not expect too much for the ashes as he has hardly got any time to work with this team. True results will show after an extended run. Good luck.

  • Meety on July 2, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Hoping that Lehman's appointment is not too soon, but I suspect it will be the best managerial appointment that CA has made since Bobby Simpson as Coach. I was neverconvinced about Arthur's appointment, but in IF in the end it leads to a great appointment in Lehman - I'm happy.

    IF Lehman was coach instead of Nielsen (I know this is a re-imagining of timelines) - I reckon Symonds would still be playing International cricket.

  • on July 2, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    I don't care..all I need as an Indian cricket lover is a fair contest between two giant test playing nations. Australians know cricket as we all know many things about life, yet at times we do not perform..we feel weak and disoriented. This Australian team has to firstly lift themselves individually and be ready for the occasion. This is going to be quality stuff and nothing less from both sides gonna save them. Mr Lehmann, if you have the ointment...let's believe, it only takes a bit of that ointment for the horses to run hard again..should be fun..should be great cricket..England..come prepared..nothing is easy here no matter how many times you guys want to believe it!

  • zenboomerang on July 2, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    What euphoria? If anything that is being media driven. The proof will be in the results in matches, but even that will be balanced against him just starting the job & if the bowlers perform (as the media has hyped them up over the last few mths) to expectation.

    The changes with Clarke stepping down from selector + that Lehmann is publicly picking the team (normally left to the captain) has been a change from normal protocol. It seems that Inverarity & Howard have given Boof different orders than what Arthur was required to follow & that Clarke has had his wings clipped. Given that Clarke already has a poor record with getting Symonds & Katich removed from the Oz Test team in the past, then the hiccup in India, perhaps management are looking a little more closely on his effect to the team...

  • sachin_vvsfan on July 2, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    "There is a wariness about England ahead of the Investec Ashes series that would have been unimaginable a fortnight ago" So true. After the Aus series at home i was tipping Eng to win the Ashes 3-0 . They were only destructing themselves under Arthur. A coach is as good as the team but a good coach brings out the best from the players.

    I still believe Eng holds the edge and are obvious favorites to win the Ashes. But will they win 3-0? I have doubts.

  • jackiethepen on July 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Definitely put a zip into the campaign. What England have to worry about is that they have a very dour management with Flower and Gooch, unleavened by the kindness and personal affection that Strauss had for his players. I do worry that Flower's harsh regime will not be the best answer. We saw the stark differences between coaches when Gary Kirsten led South Africa and kept giving them days off instead of work schedules imposed by Flower. The England team then had a rebellious KP in their ranks and looked weary themselves. There was some of that weariness around at Essex in the batting from a team that had just done all the rounds in the Champions Trophy. Did it really need another public telling off by Gooch? Leahmann wants to encourage his team. I think that might work better. Grumbling all the time isn't inspiring.

  • Nutcutlet on July 2, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    With Lehmann's appointment, the retaining of the Ashes just got a whole lot tougher. Cometh the hour.. applies here & with England's notoriously slow starts to Test series, if Trent Bridge turns out to be an Australian win, then a series upset is def on the cards - & England had better acknowledge it. For many months now England has hardly been able to contain its Schadenfreude over Ozzie lack of focus (What's the best team? Rebels in the ranks - followed by stern 'exemplary' discipline for the larrikin trouble-makers; Clarke's back becoming as infamous as Compton's knee, etc.). IMO, the overwhelming factor responsible for the Ozzie sun beginning to shine again is the obvious: Lehmann is one of their own & Arthur isn't. The Saffer approach has always been earnest, even a little stern & perhaps not appreciative of the Aussie who's always taken pride in being anti-authoritarian, true to his immigrant roots of 1788. Ned Kelly has always inspired. Always will. Lehmann will relate to that.

  • Galactus. on July 2, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Finally great to see a coach getting the credit... Hope to see a good performance from Australia just for the sake of the coach.....