Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has admitted that his racial outburst against Sri Lanka in 2003 was the “biggest mistake” of his life.
Lehmann shouted “black c****” from the Australian dressing room after he was run out during an ODI in Brisbane.
“It was the biggest mistake of my life,” Lehmann said. “I apologised for it on the night, to the captain Kumar Sangakkara [Sanath Jayasuriya was captain] and the Sri Lankan team, and hopefully they’ve forgiven me and we can move on.
“I speak about it honestly, it was a big mistake, and it was a big learning curve in my career and if I can impart anything on other players along the way, then so be it.”
Lehmann also revealed how he dealt with the variety of personalities and egos present in the current Australian team, from pace bowler Mitchell Johnson to opening batsman David Warner.
“Mitchell is a beautiful quiet guy who just goes about his business, so for me it’s just about keeping him up,” Lehmann said. “He’ll have times when he’s down, but not to let him get too down on himself.
“Players are their own harshest critic, as you would imagine, there are times when they’re going to get a rocket from me. But I’m making sure they’re in a really good place to play the best cricket they can. And knowing each player, they’re all different.
“I wouldn’t talk to David Warner too long, because he wouldn’t understand, he’d lose it. So I keep it really short for guys like that, Glenn Maxwell, and that’s fine, that’s when they play their best cricket. But if I have to talk to Shane Watson or Mitchell Johnson or Michael Clarke, I might take it more in depth because they’ll get it easier.”
Lehmann also conceded that he was disappointed Australia had failed to reach the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 following impressive performances against England and South Africa.
“We were riding high on the back of beating England and South Africa, and then we struggled in Bangladesh,” he said. “Albeit it all of those games were winnable and we were in winning positions when we let ourselves down. That’s a good learning curve for us.
“I know it’s not great when you’re out of the World Cup, but as long as the players learn from that, and then don’t make the same mistake – I’m okay with players making mistakes, don’t make it twice.”