Darren Lehmann admits mistake, laments squad pick too early
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has admitted selectors erred in not playing an all-rounder in the Trent Bridge Test amid frustration at having to pick the touring squad more than three months before the first Test played.
Lehmann, a selector as well as coach, said that he took the responsibility for Australia slumping to their fourth cosecutive Ashes series defeat in England.
Meanwhile, Lehmann also blamed early Ashes squad pick. Australia’s Ashes squad was revealed on March 31. Unusually it was for two tours: the Ashes and the preceding visit to the West Indies.
In 2013 the squad was announced about a month later, after a series in India. In 2009 they did it in late May, 50 days before the series began.
Two players, Peter Siddle and Fawad Ahmed, are yet to play a Test in either series. Pat Cummins, called into the squad on the eve of the Ashes after the retirement of Ryan Harris, has only featured in the tour games, while Shane Watson and Brad Haddin have each only played one Test in this series.
“As a coach and selectors we’ve got things wrong at certain times there’s no doubt about that. We’ve got to own up like players have to and everyone else that our performances weren’t good enough, full stop. We’ve got to work on how we’re going to move forward,” Lehmann said.
He alos said Australia had not learned their lessions from their previous series in England in 2013 for which he was installed as coach about a month before it began, just as England has appointed Trevor Bayliss for this Ashes series.
“I think we played better [in England] in 2013, to be perfectly honest,” he said. “We certainly didn’t cope with the swinging or seaming ball in the past two Test matches well enough and that’s something we have to get better at.”
Australian decision to play Shaun Marsh droping brother Mitch Marsh for the fourth Test was profousely criticsed by English expert. Lehmann conceded he and chief selector Rod Marsh had been wrong to change the composition of the Australian XI.
“We wanted the extra batter and spoke to the captain about it in this particular game, but we’ve always wanted five bowlers, so we probably got that selection wrong. Happy to admit when we’re wrong. You don’t get everything right, and that’s a good learning curve for us,” he said.
“We’re really strong on having five bowlers and we didn’t do that this game. In the end it didn’t matter, we only bowled once and we didn’t bat well enough, so that’s a learning curve for us.”
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