Lehmanns can make it work - Alec Stewart

Jake Lehmann steers the ball to the off side Getty Images

Over the coming days, when Australia's selection panel sits down to finalise the squad for their opening Ashes encounter in Brisbane, at some point during the conversation, Darren Lehmann will have to excuse himself from the room. If the name of his son, Jake Lehmann, comes up - and it almost certainly will, even as an outside choice - then senior Lehmann will leave the other selectors to deliberate without him.

While this process will be the result of a formal Cricket Australia Board directive to avoid conflicts of interest, it seems Darren Lehmann actively prefers not to be involved. "I'd be that nervous anyway I probably wouldn't be coach, I'd probably go to the bar," he said when the subject arose last year. Should Jake put on another good showing in this week's Sheffield Shield, the old man might have to come up with a coping strategy by the time Australia and England step out at the Gabba on November 23.

One former Ashes combatant who knows a fair bit about the father-son, coach-player dynamic, albeit from the English perspective, is Alec Stewart. England's second-most capped Test cricketer, Stewart began his international career in 1989, at a time when his dad, Micky, was manager of the team. Fortunately, they already had a well-established method for making the relationship work.

"When I signed professionally at Surrey as a 17-year-old, he was manager of the Surrey side then," Alec told ESPNcricinfo. "We'd obviously spoken about it, when I left school he knew I wanted to try and play cricket. He was only ever going to sign me if he felt I was good enough - he almost took the surname or the relationship out of the question, he just looked at me as a cricketer.

"That's what we made very, very clear. When we were at home, he's obviously me dad but when we were at cricket - or work, because that's what it was - then I didn't have a dad who was the coach and he didn't have a son who was a player. I was a player and he was very much coach, or manager. I never called him or referred to him as 'dad' when I was at work. Once we got home, or at a family occasion, he's dad and still is. But when we're at work it's very much a player-coach relationship."

Whether with Surrey or England, Micky was always "gur" (short for manager) to Alec, just as he was to everyone else. Although, he adds: "I might have called him a few other names under me breath if he dropped me."

"It's not village cricket, it's not the local Sunday side, where dad's running it and they say to their lad, 'You can play centre forward' or 'You can open the batting and bowling, and field first slip"

Rather than having the path smoothed by his father, who also played for England, Alec said "if anything at times he might have been tougher, which I never minded"; it was not until Alec was almost 27, having played more than 100 first-class matches, that he received his Test cap. But he stressed the importance of establishing how both would work together on a professional footing from the outset.

"I think as long as those sort of guidelines are put down early, then there should never be a problem. People use the word nepotism - it's not village cricket, it's not the local Sunday side, where dad's running it and they say to their lad, 'You can play centre forward' or 'You can open the batting and bowling, and field first slip'. We're talking professional sport, so there's not going to be that favouritism."

Being able to take a telling off - "oh yeah, don't worry about that, I would have to listen" - was also vital, as was feeling comfortable in the midst of any dressing-room discontent. "Players would moan about him and at times I could join in. They weren't afraid to speak indifferently about him in front of me, and I wasn't afraid to say good or bad about something he had said or done. Because I treated him as the coach or manager, and not me dad, it was straightforward."

Were there ever any arguments about the batting order over the Sunday roast? "Mum might have sided with me a few times ... But that's where I've been lucky, he's been my dad, he's been my coach and manager, and he's a mate as well, even to this day. We've always had a very strong relationship, and a really good one. Playing under him and being in the same industry anyway, that's made it that much easier. Being honest and up front - if I've done something right, he might tell me, if I've done something wrong, he'll definitely tell me."

Of course, if things go well, one of the upsides is that of father being well positioned to enjoy his son's achievements - as Micky was when Alec scored his maiden Test hundred in 1991.

"He sat on the balcony there at Lord's and I know he was very, very proud of that, because for a moment he could go, 'Yup, there's my son, he's just got a hundred'. But he wouldn't have done that outwardly."

If Jake gets his chance in the forthcoming Ashes, then Australia's coach would surely welcome the opportunity to quietly applaud a similar success - that is assuming Darren has managed to conquer his nerves and abandon the bar.

Alec, now Surrey's director of cricket, is acquainted with both Lehmanns, Jake having played in the Surrey Championship in recent times, and will be watching on with interest from afar, noting there are "real question marks" over some areas of the Australia side. "It's not as though they are settled and all playing well and it's nailed on this will be their XI for all five games," he said.

That could be where Jake comes in. But while the example of Micky and Alec may provide encouragement that Australia can make a similar arrangement work, there is one area in which the Lehmanns would hope to differ: Alec played in seven Ashes series, losing every one. An omen to make Darren glad he's not in the room.