Graeme Hick talks exclusively to GiveMeSport about the way Darren Lehmann’s man-management style has enabled Australia to get the best out of the their players…
In less than a year Darren Lehmann has transformed an Australian team that had reached a nadir following the sacking of Micky Arthur into the top ranked team in cricket once again. And Graeme Hick has identified Lehmann’s ability to manage individual players as the key to Australia’s return to prominence.
Australia arrived in England last summer with their stock placed lower than it had been in a generation, and they were duly dispatched 3-0 as the hosts secured a third successive Ashes triumph. They returned home damaged, but not battered beyond repair, and Lehmann immediately set about reconstructing a togetherness and ethos that had been worryingly absent before his arrival.
It worked, of course, as England were destroyed down under, with Australia cruising to a deserved series whitewash, before overcoming South Africa to usurp them as the No.1 Test match team in the world. Quite a turnaround.
One of the most notable performers in Lehmann’s tenure has been David Warner. Once a mercurial tearaway who appeared beyond control only 12 months ago, Warner has now established himself as one of the game’s most accomplished openers. Four hundreds in six Tests is clear evidence of this, while three of these centuries came in only five innings in South Africa.
Hick, who was treated poorly for much of his international career, claims man-management is the way to get the best out of players like Warner, and believes Lehmann has been able to get it down to a fine art.
“It is a crucial part for players competing at the highest level. Nowadays the players have a lot more say that they used to going back 30-40 years,” Australia’s high performance coach explained.
“The players want to be treated differently, but the art of man-management is how you deal with those people, there are times when players need to be sent home and given a wake up call.
“You just have to hope you make that call at the right time. Obviously in the case of David Warner, it has payed huge dividends. It has worked for him it may not work for someone else.
“That is one of Darren Lehmann's strengths, you seem to feel like the players are really enjoying their cricket and enjoying him as coach and the results are showing that.”
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