Lehmann signs contract extension

"I have huge gratitude to the board and the people who make those decisions"

“I have huge gratitude to the board and the people who make those decisions”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Darren Lehmann has signed a contract extension that will see him continue coaching Australia until June 2017.

Lehmann replaced Mickey Arthur as head coach on the eve of Australia’s Ashes campaign in the United Kingdom last June.

After losing that series 3-0, Lehmann turned Australia’s fortunes around as they went on to whitewash England 5-0 in the Ashes series last summer before beating South Africa 2-1 in March this year.

“Obviously I have huge gratitude to the board and the people who make those decisions,” Lehmann told cricket.com.au. “And obviously the players have a bit of a say in that, I’d imagine, as well.

“It means we’re going down the right path, which is pleasing. So now the challenge is to raise the bar, as we always talk about.”

Now that he has signed a contract extension, Lehmann stated that he can solely focus on the hectic 18-month schedule the Baggy Greens have ahead of them.

“From our point of view to get (a new contract) locked away…we can all move forward in one direction, (which) is really pleasing personally but also as a team,” he said. “It’s 18 months on the road so it’s a good chance to implement what we’re doing and to continue the work we’re doing with the players, and obviously what we’re about in terms of trying to produce a great brand of cricket for the Australian public to watch.

“Obviously, I’m a small part of that. The players do all the work on the ground and they’re fantastic at it. The coaching staff works really well behind the scenes to get things happening as we want them to happen and Michael Clarke as captain and the players implement them on the ground, which is really pleasing.”

Lehmann is also pleased at how close the players and coaching staff have become during his 16 months on the job.

“I think the togetherness of the group as a whole, support staff and players, the way we all get on so well with the families and look after each other outside the game,” Lehmann said. “They’re all really talented cricketers and we’ve got some great people involved in the game.

“That’s been the biggest stride. The other is the improvement of our skill level.”

The 44-year-old also admitted that he is still adjusting to life as Australia’s head coach.

“It’s a totally different version because you’re looking after all of Australia,” he said. “Learning how big a role it was interesting.

“I was quite an aggressive player myself and I’ve got a captain (Clarke) who is quite aggressive. George (Bailey) is aggressive, Finchy (Aaron Finch) is aggressive, so with Clarke it makes it quite a bit easier to implement an aggressive plan. That’s the pleasing thing is the captains have been on board and that’s what you need.”

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