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August 26, 2013
England's players will be given extra security when they tour Australia later this year because the ECB apparently fears for their safety following comments made by the Australian coach, Darren Lehmann.
The ECB believes that recent comments made by Lehmann, the Australia coach, constituted "incitement" and feel that, as a direct result, the England team may now require more protection than had previously been anticipated.
Lehmann, in a jovial interview to an Australian radio station, called Stuart Broad a "cheat" for not walking in the first Test at Trent Bridge and urged the Australian public to "get stuck into him when he gets out to Australia."
"I hope that the Australian public just give it to him right from the word go for the whole summer," Lehmann said. "And I hope he cries and goes home."
The ICC subsequently fined Lehmann and, while his apology to Broad has been accepted, the ECB, at least, feels the damage is done.
"There probably will be extra security for everyone," Andy Flower, the England coach said. "It's something we're taking very seriously.
"We enjoyed our tour of Australia last time. There's always a little bit of barracking and what have you, but in the main it's fairly good natured and I'd hope it'll be the same this next trip."
Lehmann sought out Broad during post-series celebrations at The Oval and apologised. "I've had a chat with him already and we just move on," he said. "It was a good learning curve for a new coach, wasn't it, you know - a jovial setting, but you've got to learn from that."
Flower expressed particular disappointment that his opposite number had made what England regard as an unwarranted and potentially inflammatory attack on one of their players.
"I think when we are put in these positions they are fairly responsible positions," Flower said. "You have to take those responsibilities seriously. I don't think that was a well-judged thing to say, but we are looking forward to going to Australia. We really enjoyed the challenge last time, we enjoyed exploring the country and the Australian public were excellent, so we hope that'll be the same next time."
An ECB media release following the announcement of the ICC's sanctions against Lehmann stated: "The ECB, in supporting its players, management support staff and their families, believe no one in the game condones incitement of any kind and we will take all necessary steps to ensure safety on tour."
Whether the ECB's indignation is genuine or part of a concerted public-relations effort to apply pressure upon the Australian coach is debatable. But it was noticeable that even while Flower dismissed questions about members of the team urinating on the Oval pitch as they celebrated the result as "ridiculous", he could not resist one final barb at the opposition. "It's nice to be able to celebrate a win," he said.
Broad seems to want to let the matter rest. He said on twitter: "Spoke to Darren Lehmann last night. He apologised for his comments, I accepted it. He said they were made in Jest for banter. Done."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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