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Darren Lehmann, the former Australia batsman, has ruled himself out of contention for the job of England coach and has opted to stay with Deccan Chargers, the IPL team. Lehmann had been linked to the England job after a public endorsement from Shane Warne last week and was quoted as saying that he was interested in the role.
Lehmann, however, said in a statement today that he would coach Deccan for the second IPL season that starts on April 10. "The time is not right for me to coach England," Lehmann said. "I am flattered Shane Warne has mentioned my name but my sole focus right now is with Deccan Chargers."
Tim Wright, the franchise's chief executive, confirmed to Cricinfo that Lehmann, who was appointed as Deccan coach after they finished at the bottom last year, would continue with the Hyderabad-based team.
Lehmann said that his priority now is to work on building Deccan along with Adam Gilchrist who replaced VVS Laxman as captain last year. Deccan have already signed up Ryan Harris, the Australia allrounder, through an IPL rule that allows teams to recruit uncapped players directly. Harris has since been named in the Australia Twenty20 side against South Africa.
"Darren identified Ryan Harris back in June long before Harris' selection for Australia's T20 squad and he has identified some good new Indian talent," Wright said. "I speak with Lehmann most days so I know how determined he is to help make Deccan Chargers successful."
Lehmann is not the first Australian whose name has been brought up for discussion for the England job, with Tom Moody also being linked to the position. South Africa's Graham Ford, the Kent director of cricket, has expressed an interest in filling the post.
Lehmann, 38, played 27 Tests and 117 ODIs for Australia and also captained Yorkshire during his stint as an overseas player from 1997 to 2006.
England will not appoint a new head coach for the upcoming tour of the West Indies. Andrew Strauss, who replaced Kevin Pietersen as captain, will be supported in the Caribbean by Andy Flower, England's assistant coach, Phil Neale, the team operations manager, and other specialist coaches and support staff.