Australia coach vows to rebuild the team's reputation after ball-tampering affair, according to reports.
Darren Lehmann has broken his silence on the ball-tampering affair which has engulfed Australia on their Test tour of South Africa, claiming he was “embarrassed” and “disappointed".
He told reporters in South Africa that Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft had "made a grave mistake but they are not bad people. These are young men and I hope people will give them a second chance.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Cricket Australia had confirmed that Steve Smith and David Warner would be banned from all international and domestic cricket for a period of twelve months, while Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months. The former two will also have their lucrative 2018 Indian Premier League contracts torn up.
On Steve Smith, Lehmann said “the public love him” and “we’ve lost a great young man who made a mistake.” He added: “There is a need for us to change the way we play, and we need to work to bring the respect back from the fans.”
Lehmann's views come on the same day that Cricket Australia CEO quashed rumours that Lehmann would resign and confirmed that CA colleague Iain Roy’s investigation proved that the coach was not complicit in the ball-tampering allegations.
"The first time anyone knew about it was when it came up on the vision screen," Sutherland told journalists in Johannesburg. "He saw that and he radioed down. He brought everyone into the room when the next break was [at tea]. He basically went through everyone and went 'what is going on?' Darren's reaction to those things was pretty clear. He's obviously tried to verify or understand [what] anyone else's involvement [was]."
However, Sutherland reiterated that Lehmann's role in the wider culture of the team would be examined by the independent review to be commissioned into the conduct of Australian men's teams. "I've got no doubt that he feels some sort of personal responsibility for that. We all do. This is a terrible situation," Sutherland said. "There are three guys going home that have been offered sanctions that are life-changing."
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