National coach Darren Lehmann has admitted both he and Australia’s cricket team have to change, vowing to oversee a cultural overhaul in response to the ball-tampering scandal.
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland and Lehmann have promised to disinfect a competitive streak that turned toxic in Cape Town, where three players conspired to cheat on Saturday.
Captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner, who orchestrated the ball-tampering ploy, have been banned for 12 months, while Cameron Bancroft, who undertook the plan, was banned for nine months.
CA will soon conduct an independent review into the team’s culture and conduct.
“We need to change how we play and within the boundaries we play. Obviously, previously we’ve butted heads on the line, but that’s not the way to go,” Lehmann said in a press conference on Thursday morning (AEDT).
“I need to change. We need to work to earn the respect back from all our fans.
“The team has been received quite negatively in recent times and there is a need for us to change some of the philosophies.
“Like all of Australia, we are extremely disappointed and as a team we know we have let so many people down and for that I am truly sorry.”
Lehmann also expressed his concern for the mental health of the three banned players, begging Australians to forgive the trio as they head home in disgrace.
“[I’m] disappointed, embarrassed, hurt for the game. I worry about the three guys immensely. We love all our players and they’re going through a really tough time,” he said.
“They have made a grave mistake but they are not bad people.
“These are young men and I hope people will give them a second chance.”
Sutherland echoed Lehmann’s concerns for team culture, saying he wants a “deep and far-ranging” review of the climate that prompted three players to make life-changing mistakes.
“He (Lehmann) feels some sort of personal responsibility for that. We all do. This is a terrible situation,” Sutherland told reporters on Wednesday night.
“We cannot have this happen again,” he said.
“There is a rebuild that needs to happen to reinstate the faith and the confidence and the pride that the Australian public had, and should have, in the Australian cricket team.
“You’ve got to go back to the core and find out what the little things are and address them.”
The governing body’s investigation also found Lehmann wasn’t aware of Warner’s plan to illegally scuff the ball with sandpaper.
Intense pressure mounted on Lehmann after he was captured on camera appearing to conspire with substitute Peter Hanscomb via radio to tell Bancroft he had been caught on camera with a piece of sandpaper.
However, CA distanced Lehmann from the saga, saying he asked Hanscomb “what the f— is going on”.
“He saw that and he radioed down and he said ‘what the f— is going on?’ He said to Handscomb ‘Find out what the f— is going on’,” Sutherland said.
“He brought everyone into the room when the next break was. He basically went through everyone and went ‘what is going on?’ … they were findings that (CA head of integrity) Iain Roy had.
“For Iain it was very important to hear. Darren’s reaction to those things was pretty clear.”
-with AAP and ABC