Tributes pour in for Lehmann after Ashes triumph

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Lehmann guided Australia to their first Ashes victory in five years

A number of past and current cricketers have paid tribute to Australia head coach Darren Lehmann for helping the baggy greens retain the Ashes for the first time after five long years.

Lehmann replaced Mickey Arthur as head coach just a few weeks before the last Ashes series in England, which Australia lost 3-0.

But, to have gone from losing 3-0 in the last Ashes series to winning 3-0 within the first three Tests of the current series is something most people would not have predicted.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan stated that while Lehmann was capable of giving the team a good tongue-lashing when they deserved it, he also possessed the ability to instill an aura of calmness.

“His ability to make people view cricket as just a game is his strength,” Vaughan wrote in his column for The Telegraph last week. “He makes a player, even during pressurised situations, feel as if he is playing for his club side on a Saturday afternoon.”

Legendary Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, who was inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Fame during the recently concluded third Test in Perth, noted that the Australian team seem to have adopted a new attitude, both on and off the field.

“I continue to go back to Darren Lehmann and the seeds that he would have planted as soon as he assumed that role,” Gilchrist said. “His fingerprints are all over the atmosphere around that team. I know from personal experience he’s a guy who creates the right atmosphere for people to feel like they can then do their best.

“I think Michael Clarke is one of the great beneficiaries of having Darren Lehmann around. I can’t put words in his mouth but I would imagine if you ask him at the end he would speak along similar lines. He just de-stresses situations and players and leaders, so I think Pup has really relished working with him, and that’s allowed a lot more of his inner personality to come out.”

Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson, who has taken 23 wickets at an incredible average of 15.47 in the first three Tests alone, also lauded Lehmann for helping revive his international career.

“He’s been a big part,” Johnson said. “He understands the players. He’s been in the situation before as a player. He knows what’s going on and he has got a calming influence. But he’ll also tell you if you’re being an idiot or doing something that you shouldn’t be doing.

“He is a straight shooter, which is what you want, but he understands the players and gets to know each player, which is pretty important as a coach. He knows how people tick and he’s definitely found that with me. We have got a lot of trust, and trust is another big part of it.”

Even Australia opening batsman Chris Rogers had some kind words for Lehmann, stating that he was leading the national team in the right direction after they appeared to have veered off course during Arthur’s reign as head coach.

“He’s been exceptional,” Rogers said. “I think it’s the real calmness he’s brought; he’s given us a great direction in how he wants us to play but also how he wants us to act on and off the field. I think as a player if you can relax and express yourself and not be worried about what’s going on in the change room, it’s the best feeling in cricket. I’ve no doubt he’s brought unbelievable attributes to this side.”

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