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Lehmann still struggling emotionally post ball-tampering scandal

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Mumbai : Former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has revealed he remains emotionally damaged by the South Africa ball-tampering scandal and continues to have counselling more than seven months after his teary resignation in March.

Lehmann quit his role with more than a year remaining on his contract despite being cleared of wrongdoing in the Cape Town scandal in March. Justin Langer succeeded him in May.

“I saw people, and am still seeing people about it. That’s a work in progress,” the 48-year-old told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday.

“I don’t think people know how much it affects people behind the scenes, but that’s one of those things that you go through. The help of family and close friends got me through.”

The ball-tampering scandal resulted in year-long bans to former captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, with batsman Cameron Bancroft suspended for nine months.

Lehmann, who is set for a commentary stint with a local radio station after coaching at Cricket Australia’s ‘Centre of Excellence’ academy in Brisbane, said his former employers could have done more to support him in the wake of Cape Town.

“For me, it was okay. It was a tough time and you had bad days and good days and I’m sure all those other three blokes (players) had worse days,” he said.

“You just hope they get the right help, everyone gets the right help when they need it. There could have been more help but they certainly didn’t just leave us hanging either.”

Cricket Australia, led by chairman David Peever, has been under fire following the delayed release of the Longstaff review which blamed the board in part for the ball-tampering incident and accused it of allowing an “alpha male culture” to flourish and harm the game.

Lehmann was criticised heavily by media pundits in the wake of Cape Town for failing to sanction his players for on-field misconduct.

However, he denied one of the Longstaff review’s findings that players had abused their own staff on match days.

“That might have been before my time. I didn’t see that in my time,” he said.

“They were always respectful and I didn’t have a problem with that.”You’re a family travelling around,” he added.

“Some of that has been hurtful saying the culture is not great, because it’s not too bad.”


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Kashmir from the outside is not the way it is over here, says Real Kashmir captain Loveday

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By Rohit Mundayur

Srinagar : Loveday Enyinnaya is no stranger to India. The Nigerian defender has been in the country for nearly eight years in a career that has taken him from the coastal air of Kerala to the colder one that you find in Shillong. After four years in the hills, he returned to the salt and beaches, only this time in Goa. Finally, he went to Chandigarh where he won the league title with Minerva Punjab. His current endeavour, though, is something no one has done before – captaining Real Kashmir in the I-League.

IndianExpress.com caught up with him and he gave a picture of what it is like to be a top flight football player in Kashmir.

What was your reaction when you first got the offer to join the club?

I said ‘I’ll consider it’. I was basically a bit doubtful because this was a new club freshly promoted from the second division. Eventually, though, I said ‘yes’ to the offer.

What made you say yes?

I had confidence (in the club). I also felt that it will be a different experience. Real Kashmir was a top team I felt when they were in the second division and that is why I accepted the offer.

What had you heard about Srinagar and Kashmir before you got the offer?

I had heard that there were political issues here. But honestly, when I got the offer I wasn’t thinking about that side of it, I was only thinking from a professional point of view. Now that I am here I realise that what I used to think about Kashmir from the outside is not the way it is over here.

How difficult was it to adjust to the weather?

I was in the North East for four-five years. Kashmir is a little bit colder. Breathing here is a little bit difficult. Sometimes your chest hurts because of cold especially when you are playing or running. But I have to get used to it and acclimatise to it. There are times when there is snow on the pitch and when you don’t feel like getting out because of the cold. This is the life of a professional, you can go to a hot place or a cold place. You get used to the heat you face in places like Kolkata. In the same way you get used to the cold here.

What do you have to say about the crowds that come here for every match?

Not too surprised by the crowds. This is the first time after all (that a team from Kashmir are playing in the I-League). They like football, and they know the game too. They are happy that they are getting to see it live. It is like when Shillong Lajong reached I-League for the first time. It was the same in Shillong. The crowd here is amazing, you know, they understand football. So we better use the advantage.( IndianExpress.com)

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Smith, Warner’s suspensions ‘could be lifted this week’

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London : Steve Smith and David Warner could have their one-year bans from international and state cricket reduced or adjusted after a review by the board of Cricket Australia (CA) this week, local media reports said.

Former Test captain Smith and vice-captain Warner were handed the bans by CA after the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year and are not scheduled to resume playing at the top level until the end of March 2019.

Batsman Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban for his part in the affair and is scheduled to return to action at the end of December.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association have always contested the bans were overly-harsh and have continued to push for all three to be able to return to representative cricket immediately.

Those calls intensified after a cultural review into Cricket Australia last month that suggested that the culture fostered in the game by the governing body had contributed to the incident in a Test against South Africa.

That review led to the resignation of chairman David Peever, who had forcefully maintained that the players should see out the full terms of their suspensions.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on Monday reported that “serious discussions” had taken place among senior officials over allowing the players to return to state cricket, adding that the board would consider lifting the suspensions this week.

Smith and Warner are two of the best batsmen in world cricket and the debate over their bans is being played out against the backdrop of Australia’s continued struggles in all formats of the men’s game.

With Australia’s defence of the 50-overs World Cup starting in England at the end of May and the defence of the Ashes following in August and September, there is clearly a desire among some Down Under to get the duo back as soon as possible.

Both have been keeping their hand in by playing Sydney club cricket and have received praise in local media for the way they have conducted themselves.

Smith and Warner have both been retained by their franchises in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) for the next version of the competition, which starts on March 29.

Australia take on India in the first of three Twenty20 internationals in Brisbane on Wednesday looking to snap a run of four consecutive defeats in the format.

They then face the tourists, who are top of the world rankings, in four Tests over December and January looking to avoid what would be a first ever home series loss to India.

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Besides Kohli, wary Australia plan to stop Rohit Sharma

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Brisbane: Trap him in front of the stumps with a sharp inswinger or test him with a short ball: These could be the tactics employed by Australia against dangerous India opener Rohit Sharma, says pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Besides India captain Virat Kohli, Rohit is another batsmen that could give the home team plenty of headache in the limited overs leg of the series beginning on Wednesday.

“He’s an unbelievable player. His record speaks for itself. He’s got a good record all around the world, so he’s a definite player to watch,” Coulter-Nile said at the Gabba on Monday.

“But we’ve also had a bit of success against him with the new ball as well–I think ‘Dorff’ (Jason Behrendorff) got him out last time we played him–rapped him on the pads–so we’ll look to do that again early.”

Coulter-Nile also fancies bowling short to Rohit, who has an impressive record in Australia and has scored 810 runs at an average of 62.31 in the last eight years.

Left-arm pacer Behrendorff could be Australia’s trump card as he had troubled the Indians with a sensational spell of four for 21 in a T20 played in Guwahati last year. He had sent back the Indian top four, including Rohit and Kohli.

“Everyone knows he’s a fantastic option up front. He’ll swing it here–it’s beautiful conditions for it today, hopefully same sort of conditions (on Wednesday), it’ll swing early. Hopefully we hold our chances, because he’ll definitely create a few,” added Coulter-Nile. PTI

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