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Darren Scott Lehmann (born 5 February 1970 in Gawler, South Australiamarker) is a former Australian cricketer, who made his ODI debut in 1996 and Test debut in 1998. He was on the fringes of national selection for the entirety of the 1990s, and only became a regular in the ODI team in 2001 and Test team in late 2002, before being dropped in early 2005. Primarily an aggressive left-handed batsman, Lehmann was also a part-time left arm orthodox bowler, and was known for his disregard for physical fitness and modern dietary regimes. He announced his retirement from first-class cricket in November 2007. Recently he was appointed as the coach of Deccan Chargers, an IPL team.

Early years

A junior representative for Central District Football Club as well as playing cricket, Lehmann left school at the age of 16, to work on the assembly line of Holden car manufacturers in Elizabeth, South Australiamarker. He declined selection to the first intake of the newly-formed Australian Cricket Academy, a full-time cricket centre, citing his enjoyment of the factory life. Lehmann entered the first-class scene as a 17-year-old in the 1987/88 season for South Australia, playing one match against Victoria at the Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker after both Tim May and Peter Sleep were called into the national team. After making 10, Lehmann was omitted upon their return and did not play any further part in the season. In 1988/89, South Australia were at the bottom of the ladder, when coach Barry Richards called Lehmann into the team, playing against Western Australia at the WACAmarker. Lehmann remembered little of the match; after being struck in the right temple by a Bruce Reid bouncer, he was knocked unconscious and temporarily ceased breathing. Lehmann made his mark in the following match against New South Wales Blues at Adelaide Ovalmarker, reaching 50, but the innings was marred by the manner in which it was ended. Going for a quick single, Lehmann collided with bowler Geoff Lawson and was run out after falling over. However, Richards and South Australian captain David Hookes claimed that Lawson had tripped Lehmann, leading to a confrontation between the two teams.

In 1989/90, Lehmann came into contention for national selection, after scoring 228 runs at the age of 19 in a match against Victoria in that season. He also scored a century against the touring New Zealand cricket team and followed that with centuries in three consecutive Sheffield Shield matches. Having scored over 700 runs in the first half of the season, Lehmann was drafted into the Australian squad for the New Year's Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Groundmarker after both openers David Boon and Geoff Marsh were injured. As Lehmann was not an opener, Mike Veletta and Tom Moody were selected and he was relegated to being 12th man. Lehmann was also called into the squad for the triangular ODI series, but after being unused he was replaced by Mark Waugh.

The following year, Lehmann was lured to move to Victoria by John Elliott and Ian Collins, then directors of the Carlton Football Club with a lucrative deal for him to play district cricket for Carlton, as well as the Victorian state team. Lehmann believed that he had a better chance of international selection, feeling that selectors disregarded batting performances at Adelaide Ovalmarker on the perception that it was a flat track. Lehmann was not, however, rewarded with international selection, but he did participate in a Shield victory in 1990/91. He was fortunate to play in the final, having needed facial surgery prior to the match after being struck in the nose during a training session. Following another season, Lehmann expressed dissatisfaction, and returned to South Australia.

South Australia and Yorkshire: 1993/94 to 2007/08

From the 1993/94 season until 2007/08, Lehmann played domestic cricket for his home state, South Australia, as well as for Yorkshire in England (from 1997 until 2006). During this time, Lehmann had great success as a player for both teams and he captained them both; South Australia from 1998/99 until 2006/07 and Yorkshire in 2002.

Playing for South Australia in this period, Lehmann scored over 10,500 runs in 107 first-class appearances for the state, at an average of around 55. In 1995/96 he was a part of the South Australian team which claimed the Sheffield Shield. He made 37 centuries with a top score of 301 not out against Western Australia at the Adelaide Ovalmarker in 2005/06. He also took 44 wickets at an average of 38.06 He held the record for the most first-class runs scored and first-class games played before selection to the Australian Test team prior to Michael Hussey's Test debut in 2005. He currently holds the record for the most runs in the history of the Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup with 12971, over 2000 more than the second highest run scorer, Jamie Cox. Whilst he had great success as a player, his captaincy record was not as distinguished; South Australia did not win any silverware under his captaincy and he quit the role at the end of the 2006/07 season after South Australia managed to win only one Pura Cup game. Lehmann announced his retirement on 19 November 2007 citing injury concerns as the main reason behind his decision to quit. He ended his limited-overs career for South Australia on 21 November with an unbeaten 126 from 104 balls in an unbroken 236 partnership with Matthew Elliott (a South Australian record for any wicket in List A cricket) to complete the highest successful run-chase in Australian List A cricket so far. His final first-class innings for South Australia was a man-of-the-match winning 167 against Western Australia the following weekend.

From 1997 until 2006, Lehmann represented Yorkshire as an overseas player. He is by far the most successful overseas player to represent the club since the members first voted to allow overseas players in 1992, having played 88 County Championship games, scoring 8871 runs at an average of 68.76. In 2001 he helped Yorkshire to their first County Championship title since 1968, with 1416 runs in 13 games at an average of 83.29. He scored 26 centuries with a top score of 339 against Durham in 2006 during his final game for the club, helping Yorkshire to avoid relegation by a single point. It is the highest individual first-class innings at Headingleymarker, surpassing Sir Donald Bradman's 334 against England in 1930. and the second highest for Yorkshire behind George Hirst's 341 against Leicestershire in 1905. He also holds the record for the highest one-day score for Yorkshire, 191 from 103 balls against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough in 2001. He took 61 wickets at an average of 32.00 in County Championship games. [86709] As with South Australia, his captaincy record was not as distinguished as his playing record. He captained Yorkshire only in the 2002 season during which they were relegated to the second division of the County Championship. However, they did win the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy, the 50 over a side limited overs competition under his captaincy. Lehmann was a very popular member of the Yorkshire team amongst both the fans and the club hierarchy.[86710] He has stated that he would like to return to Yorkshire in a coaching role after his retirement from playing for South Australia.[86711]

Struggle to make the Australian side

Darren Lehmann's Test career performance graph

Lehmann had only limited opportunities at the international level. His body shape, relative lack of fitness and physical condition, while never dulling his run-scoring capabilities, meant he was never a favourite of the Australian hierarchy, and notably never saw eye-to-eye with former coach Bob Simpson in the early-mid 1990s. Simpson was regarded as one of the best fielders to have played the game, and was renowned for his heavy emphasis on fielding and fitness, the weakest aspects of Lehmann's game.

With Simpson's retirement at the end of the 1996 Cricket World Cup, Lehmann made his ODI debut later in the year in Sharjahmarker after injuries to other players. He was a sporadic member of the team until the 1997/98 Australian season, when captain Mark Taylor was dropped from the team. Lehmann then became a semi-regular member of the ODI team, and also toured India in early 1998.

Lehmann made his Test debut in the Third Test against India in March 1998 in Bangaloremarker, after Steve Waugh suffered a hamstring injury. Lehmann scored 52 on debut, as well as claiming Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin while bowling. Selectors were impressed with his performance, and when Waugh returned from injury on the tour of Pakistan later that year, Ricky Ponting was instead dropped. Lehmann scored 98 in the First Test in Rawalpindimarker, but an injury forced him out of the Second Test in Peshawarmarker in which Taylor scored a (then) Australian record 334 not out on a flat pitch in a high-scoring drawn match. Lehmann failed to perform in the final Test in Karachimarker and, despite scoring his maiden ODI century, he was dropped for the first two Tests of the 1998/99 Ashes series. Ponting was recalled by the selectors, under the justification of "horses for courses", as he was regarded as a superior player of pace bowling but weaker in spin, with the first two Tests being held on bouncy wickets in Brisbanemarker and Perthmarker. However, failures by Ponting in the first three Tests saw Lehmann recalled to the team for the final two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney. Further failures by Lehmann in those Tests saw him dropped in early 1999 from the Test team to tour the West Indiesmarker, who had a pure pace attack.

Lehmann retained his position, however, in the ODI team, and scored another century during the West Indies tour. He went on to the 1999 World Cup, where he played in every match bar one where he was injured, and hit the winning runs in the final. However, upon his return to Australia, he was dropped from the ODI team in favour of Damien Martyn, who was the reserve batsman. Lehmann spent the 1999/2000 international season out of the team, and was not given an opportunity again until the 2000/01 season. During that season Australia was in dominant form, winning all five Tests. Captain Steve Waugh took the opportunity to introduce a rotation system for the ODI series, and Lehmann was allowed regular matches as all members of the team were periodically rested. Despite topping the averages and Steve Waugh having the lowest among the batsmen during the round-robin stages of the triangular tournament, Lehmann was dropped for the finals series, as he was the least senior batsman in the team. Lehmann did not receive further chances in the Test format either, as Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn and Simon Katich were all recalled in 2000 and 2001 when other players were dropped. Following Hayden's heavy scoring in the 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India, he was afforded a place in the ODI squad, and Lehmann was removed altogether from the squad during the 2001/02 season. Australia however faltered during the campaign, and Lehmann was recalled for the final match of the series, in which he top scored. After Australia failed to qualify for the finals, batsmen Mark and Steve Waugh were dropped from the ODI team, and Lehmann's ODI position became permanent.

Later in 2002, Mark Waugh was dropped from the Test team, and Lehmann was recalled for the first time in almost four years. After playing three Tests without posting a large score, Lehmann was injured, and Martin Love replaced him. Lehmann came under more pressure upon his return, when during an ODI against Sri Lanka, he had an error of judgment and was run out. Upon returning to the dressing room, his frustration boiled over and he made a racial comment which saw him banned for five ODI matches, becoming the first player banned for racial vilification. After missing the first part of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, Lehmann went on to take the winning catch in the final against India in Johannesburgmarker. Lehmann's Test spot was spared when Martyn was forced out due to a finger injury, with Love and Lehmann playing in the middle order on the subsequent tour of the West Indies. Lehmann then posted his maiden Test century on the tour, and on the winter Test series against Bangladesh in northern Australia, Lehmann scored consecutive centuries to solidify his position in the team. His Test career was again put on hold, when he was injured in November against Zimbabwe, allowing Katich to play in his place and score a century and top score in both innings in the Fourth Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Groundmarker to stake a claim for Lehmann's spot. However, Steve Waugh retired after the series, and both players were included on the tour to Sri Lanka. There, Lehmann scored consecutive centuries on turning tracks against Muttiah Muralitharan to help Australia to a 3-0 clean sweep despite conceding a first innings lead in each of the matches.

Lehmann's position was again called into question on the 2004 tour to India when Michael Clarke had an opportunity to debut in Bangaloremarker on the 2004 India tour, when Ricky Ponting broke his thumb, and Clarke scored 151 in his first innings in Test matches. When Ponting returned, the Australian selectors were obliged to select Clarke, meaning that they had to drop Lehmann or Katich. Lehmann publicly offered to be dropped following a run of poor form, but the selectors did not take the offer, and the younger Katich was instead dropped. Lehmann stayed on briefly, but after two ungainly dismissals to Pakistani paceman Shoaib Akhtar in the first Two Tests of the 2004/05 series, in which Lehmann was out of position after wandering across the crease, he was dropped in favour of Shane Watson for the Sydney Test. Another maligned shot selection in the following ODI series, attempting to reverse sweep Shahid Afridi first ball, resulted in his dismissal from the ODI team, with Katich again promoted. Lehmann was unable to reclaim a spot as Australia headed towards the 2005 Ashes series looking for batsmen to combat an England team fielding four pace bowlers, including three at the high speed of , and he was never again on the Cricket Australia's contracted players list. In November 2007, he announced his retirement, stating that "Physically and mentally I've had enough".


Lehmann’s batting technique was quite unconventional; taking guard outside leg stump, and, just before a ball was bowled, stepping back and across toward and sometimes past off stump. This peculiar technique meant that if the ball was short in pitch, he did not need to step back any further. Lehmann was noted for his play against spin, and was a useful left-arm orthodox spinner himself, as evidenced by his match figures of 6/92 against Sri Lankamarker in Colombomarker in 2004. He was relatively accurate, but had little ability to turn the ball and used a flat trajectory. He was also a reasonable fielder, but his lack of fitness meant that his agility was poor.


  1. Aussie star Lehmann quits playing BBC News retrieved 19 November 2007

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