The ball-tampering scandal engulfing Australian cricket has taken another victim, with coach Darren Lehmann announcing his shock resignation on Thursday night.
The decision came just hours after the three players involved in the plot – Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft – fronted the media on their return home to Australia.
Despite telling the media just 24 hours earlier he had no plans to quit, the coach admitted seeing his players break down in tears forced him to rethink his position.
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“I really felt for Steve, as I saw him crying in front of the media, and all the players are really hurting,” he said.
“After viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting it’s only fair that I make this decision.
“This is the right thing to do.
“I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while.
“I had no prior knowledge of the (ball-tampering) incident and do not condone what happened at all. But good people can make mistakes.”
An emotional Darren Lehmann on his proudest moment as coach pic.twitter.com/NhX08swrst
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) March 29, 2018
Lehmann became particularly emotional when thanking his wife Andrea and four children for their support.
“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll on them,” he said.
“Life on the road means a lot of time away from our loved ones.
“I hope the team rebuilds from this and the Australian public find it in their hearts to forgive these young men and get behind the XI who are going to take the field tomorrow.”
Australia’s fourth Test against South Africa, which starts at 6pm AEST on Friday, will be Lehmann’s final match in charge.
To hear what the three players involved in the scandal had to say on their return to Australia click HERE.