Darren Lehmann will continue as head coach of Australia until October 2019, after receiving a two-year contract extension. The 46-year-old’s contract was due to expire in June 2017, but has now been extended to cover home and away Ashes series and the 50-over World Cup in 2019. The extension was long rumoured with many in Australian cricket circles believing Justin Langer, Western Australia’s coach, being the hot favourite to succeed Lehmann in 2019.
Langer was Australia’s interim coach in the Caribbean during the tri-series in June when Lehmann rested. Lehmann told reporters on Monday (August 1) that he was likely to step aside in 2019. “As I’ve always said, it’s the best job in the world,” he said. “I love the job. But it’s a job you can’t do forever, either.” He took over the role when Australia was at its lowest ebb in decades, following the shock sacking of Mickey Arthur on the eve of the 2013 Ashes series in England. Australia were just months removed from an embarrassing 4-0 Test series thrashing in India, exacerbated by the infamous ‘Homework’ controversy. During the past three years, Lehmann has guided Australia to the top of both the Test and One-Day International (ODI) rankings.
Notable highlights have included winning the Ashes 5-0 on home soil in 2013-14, defeating South Africa in a Test series away from home and winning the 2015 50-over World Cup. “I think you’re judged on results most of the time all around the world not just on the sub-continent,” he said. “I think you’ve got to play well and win a lot of games of cricket, basically, as a coach. That’s what players have to do, that’s what coaches have to do in any sport.
“You’ve got to, hopefully, keep getting the results that makes it a lot easier,” he added. Pat Howard, Cricket Australia executive general manager, said Lehmann’s contract extension ensured stability ahead of an important period for Australian cricket. “2019 is such a big year for Australian cricket and we wanted certainty and stability for the playing group,” he said. “Darren has had great success in the role, and he and the National Selection Panel deserve a huge amount of credit for taking a relatively young side to number one in the world in two of the three formats.
“What often goes unseen is how big of a supporter Darren has been of the wider cricket system in Australia and that is crucial to the long term sustainability of Australian cricket,” he added.
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