An emotional Darren Lehmann has broken down in tears revealing his proudest moment as Australian coach.
Overlooking all the glories that he shared with Australia over the past few years, Lehmann said his proudest moment as the coach was, “The way we dealt with Phillip Hughes,” he sobbed.
“We’re only playing a game. We lost a great young man and the way we tried to deal with that was my proudest moment as coach.”
Despite not being condemned for anything Australia team is going through right now, Darren Lehmann has decided to step down from his position. Australia’s fourth Test against South Africa, which starts in Johannesburg on Friday, will be Lehmann’s final match in charge.
Lehmann read a prepared statement in the press briefing with teary eyes.
“After seeing events in the media today with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, the feeling is that Australian cricket needs to move forward and this is the right thing to do,” Lehmann told reporters.
“After viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting it’s only fair that I make this decision. I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while.”
“As I stated before I had no prior knowledge of the (ball-tampering) incident and do not condone what happened at all. But good people can make mistakes,” he said.
“Speaking to the players and saying goodbye, telling them the news. That was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Lehmann said.
“I just want to let you know this will be by my last Test as head coach if the Australian cricket team as I’m stepping down. After seeing events in the media today with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, the feeling is that Australian cricket needs to move forward and this is the right thing to do.
“I really felt for Steve, as I saw him crying in front of the media, and all the players are really hurting. As I stated before I had no prior knowledge of the incident and do not condone what happened. But good people can make mistakes.
“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll on them. As many who sit in this room will know, life on the road means a lot of time away from our loved ones and after speaking with my family at length over the last few days it’s the right time to step away.
“I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while. Despite telling media yesterday that I’m not resigning, after viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting it’s only fair that I make this decision.
“This will allow Cricket Australia to complete a full review into the culture of the team and allow them to implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public. This is the right thing for Australian cricket.
“Like all Australians we are extremely disappointed and as a team we know we’ve let so many people down, and for that we are truly sorry. The players involved have been handed down very serious sanctions and they know they must face the consequences. They have made a grave mistake but they are not bad people.
“I would like to thank my beautiful wife Andrea, my four children and close friends for allowing me to do this job and supporting me 100 per cent every step of the way. I would also like to thank all the players and support staff who have been fantastic in my five years in the role.
“We’ve had a lot of highs along the way and played some really exciting cricket. It’s been a wonderful experience coaching the Australian cricket team.
“I hope the team rebuilds from this and the Australian public find it in their hearts to forgive these young men and get behind the XI who are going to take the field tomorrow,” Lehmann said all along.