Brisbane Heat have named former Australia coach Darren Lehmann as their new head coach for next season, less than a year after he resigned from the national team in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
Lehmann emerged as the preferred candidate after an extensive search to replace Daniel Vettori, who stood down at the end of BBL08.
Lehmann has not coached any team since tearfully exiting the Australia coaching job following the Cape Town incident, although he had done some coaching at National Cricket Centre in Brisbane while serving out time on a contract originally set to run until the end of this year's Ashes series.
A Cricket Australia investigation determined that Lehmann was not directly involved in the ball-tampering scandal, but the Longstaff review published in October last year was scathing on the culture of CA's high-performance structure and the men's national team, which Lehmann helmed between 2013 and early 2018.
Steven Smith and David Warner still have three weeks of their 12-month ban for their involvement in the Cape Town incident left to serve. Smith cannot fill a leadership position within Australian cricket for a further 12 months, while Warner is banned from leadership roles for the rest of his playing career within Australian cricket.
However, Brisbane Heat were comfortable in appointing Lehmann as their coach for a second stint after he led the team in the first two seasons of the Big Bash League, including to a title in 2012-13.
"Darren has vast experience as a coach and as a manager of talented players," Brisbane Heat general manager Andrew McShea said. "We believe he can hit the ground running, and work towards the Heat providing its fans with outstanding experience in BBL 09 and beyond.
"It's a bonus for us that he understands the rationale behind the Heat from his earlier days with us, but this appointment was not about past glories. Darren stood out as someone who brings together innovation and extensive cricketing insights as well as a passion for success. He has made his home in Queensland with his family and naturally we are very pleased to welcome him back into the fold at Queensland Cricket."
After working as a radio and television commentator this summer, Lehmann is set to begin in the role next week.
"It was a wonderful experience at the time to be involved with building the Brisbane Heat at the start of the BBL, and we had plenty of fun along the way,'' Lehmann said. "I enjoyed watching the BBL, and the Heat, during the season and as a coach, I am pretty excited to be working with the Heat players, who I know are as talented and determined as anyone going around.
"I am looking forward to getting to work and helping the Heat play some outstanding cricket, have some fun, and provide our fans with a great experience."
BBL franchises are already working on rosters and contracts for next season following the end of the embargo period. The Heat have re-signed exciting young opening batsman Max Bryant for a further two seasons following the retirement of Brendon McCullum from BBL cricket.