The six words that saved Darren Lehmann from the ball-tampering controversy


In the aftermath of Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft receiving bans from Cricket Australia, coach Darren Lehmann has been cleared of any allegations.

Lehmann appeared in front of the CA Head of Integrity Iain Roy when interviewed at the team's hotel in Cape Town on Monday, stating that he had to ask 12th man Peter Handscomb to "find out what the f*** is going on."

The Australian coach revealed how he had explained to CA chief executive James Sutherland that he had spoken to 12th man Peter Handscomb on a walkie talkie to investigate what was happening.

Sutherland explained that Lehmann's explanation was the reason as to why he had been abscent from the charge sheet released earlier today which handed punishments to Warner, Bancroft, and Smith.

"The first time anyone knew about it was when it came up on the vision screen," Sutherland explained.

"He saw that and he radioed down and he said 'what the f*** is going on?' He said to Handscombe: 'Find out what the f*** is going on'.

"Beyond that I would like to just touch on that he brought everyone into the room when the next break was [at tea]. He basically went through everyone and went 'what is going on?'."

Despite avoiding a punishment brandished by CA, Sutherland stated that Lehmann's role with the team would be subject to an independent review into the conduct of Australia men's teams.

"I've got no doubt that he feels some sort of personal responsibility for that. We all do. This is a terrible situation." he said. 

"There are three guys going home that have been offered sanctions that are life-changing.

"There is a feeling of guilt and questions obviously being asked of lots of people as to why or how that might have happened. That's part of the purpose of later discussion and review. We'll clearly take on board whatever comes out of such investigations."

When asked about whether Smith has much chance of returning as Australia captain, Sutherland said the 28-year-old would need to redeem himself on a large scale.

"His ban is for 24 months. it's not before 24 months," he said. "All I'd say is that he's got a very steep hill to climb to rebuild the confidence and faith of the Australian public."

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