<
>

Headingley-bound Lehmann follows in father's footsteps

Jake Lehmann follows his father at Headingley Getty Images

Yorkshire have signed Jake Lehmann, son of the Australian coach Darren, for the remainder of the 2016 Specsavers County Championship season.

Lehmann junior, one of Australia's most up-and-coming batsmen, now has the chance to tread in the footsteps of his father, the most popular overseas player to wear the White Rose, as Yorkshire chase a hat-trick of Championship titles.

He joins Yorkshire ahead of a key period of Championship action, the first of six remaining games getting underway at Old Trafford on Saturday when the White Rose take on rivals Lancashire.

He also has the added appeal of a British passport.

After the completion of Australia A's match against South Africa in Townsville, he is due to leave Australia on Wednesday and should arrive in time to play in that four-day match.

Yorkshire moved swiftly to secure the services of the South Australia and Adelaide Strikers man after the departure of Travis Head on Sunday. Head, 22, was called up earlier than expected after winning selection for Australia's ODI series in Sri Lanka and has left the Club with immediate effect.

Head's departure to Sri Lanka in time for the final Test, where he will train and assimilate into the dressing room, but play no active part, has left Yorkshire in the lurch for their NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final against Glamorgan in Cardiff on Thursday.

Even if Lehmann could have arrived in time, ECB regulations prevent the signing of overseas players in the later stages of both one-day competitions to seek to prevent counties strengthening with gun players for the final stages.

Arguably, however, the policy shows scant understanding of realities in which overseas players come and go in country cricket with alarming regularity. Injuries occur, contracts are won, promises are broken, honest intentions fail to come to fruition and by limiting a county's ability to respond to events, the ECB is essentially creating a lottery.

As well as Yorkshire facing Glamorgan without Head - as well as four absent Englansd stars - Middlesex must cope without a replacement for Brendon McCullum against Northamptomshire because he needs a back operation.

Yorkshire's head coach Jason Gillespie nevertheless has used his friendship with Lehmann senior and involvement with South Australia to broker a quick deal which will sustain Yorkshire in the Championship.

"Getting a player of quality is always difficult at this stage of the season, but we're delighted to secure the services of Jake," he said.

"Things happened pretty quickly, triggered by Travis being called into the Australia squad and hopefully he goes on to get a game. Cricket Australia were fantastic to deal with and coordinating with South Australia went fantastically well and we were able to arrange for Jake to come over.

"He's a great kid, gives the ball a whack and has shown good nous and awareness. Having worked with him at the Strikers he'll fit in to the changing room too, as all our players do. I just hope that he has a good time with us, enjoys himself and contributes to some good wins for Yorkshire."

Darren Lehmann represented Yorkshire as an overseas player for a decade from 1997, his weight of runs and laconic, easy-going nature making him comfortably the most successful overseas player to represent the club since the members first voted to allow overseas players in 1992.

In all, he scored 8871 runs at an average of 68.76. In 2001 he helped Yorkshire to their first County Championship title since 1968. His top score of 339 against Durham in 2006 during his final game for the club enabled Yorkshire to avoid relegation by a point. It was also the highest individual first-class innings at Headingley and the second highest for Yorkshire behind George Hirst's 341 against Leicestershire in 1905.