Lehmann had resigned from his position as head coach of the Australian team following the ball-tampering scandal that erupted on their tour of South Africa earlier this year. Captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were then handed a one-year ban from international and domestic cricket by Cricket Australia while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month ban.
Following the saga, Australia’s dressing room culture came in for sharp criticism from all quarters but Lehmann has now defended his tenure in a recent interview with Macquarie Sports Radio with whom he has signed on as a commentator.
“There was a lot of talk about the Australian team being over-aggressive and there were some incidents in some games that they probably pushed it too far,” he said.
“But the ‘Australian way’, I think Justin Langer summed it up really well – a bit of banter on the field is good and playing that way.
“They got dealt with accordingly from the ICC and match referee when they crossed that line but the Australians play that way in essence a lot of the time.”
The 48-year-old feels that sledging is common place in international cricket and believes that the media have portrayed his men too harshly.
“You want to promote the game fairly and play hard but fair on the field. When I played, there was a lot worse sledging going on in those days and years before. They’re not as bad as portrayed in the media,” Lehmann said.
Shami was the most impressive of India’s pacers in the opening day of their first Test against England at Birmingham. The India man picked up a three-wicket haul as England were bowled out for 287 runs in their first innings.
Since India’s tour of South Africa earlier this year, Shami has seen himself be accused of multiple offences by his wife Hasin Jahan ranging from domestic violence to match-fixing allegations. He was subsequently dropped for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June after failing the Yo-Yo fitness test. In between, the pacer also suffered a car accident where he sustained minor injuries.
Speaking to the media after his excellent first day at Edgbaston on Wednesday, Shami expressed his delight at getting back to doing what he does best.
“(The tour of) South Africa was a long time ago and there have been some off field issues after that. I had to fight a lot in between but my effort was that I have to keep doing what I love most and what is most important to me (cricket),” said the 28-year-old.
“I wanted to just keep doing my job and then see what happens to the rest of the stuff in my life. Whatever difficulties I face, first I wanted to play cricket and keep doing it. The result is in front of us.
“As a bowling unit and as an individual I am very happy today. This is the thing I have worked hard for and we have been able to bring it forward successfully.
“There are ups and downs in life and in your family. But when playing for your country there is a responsibility and when you do that job properly, I think that’s the best thing. So I am very happy with today.”
The former international who now lives in Birmingham where the ongoing first Test between England and India is being held, believes Kohli will be the most difficult to handle for a Pakistan skipper in comparison to Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.
“Gavaskar played in a different era and I am not saying Tendulkar is a lesser player. But the very fact Kohli plays all the three formats so well makes him a more difficult player to stop. I hope he wins this Test series against England,” Mohammad told the Times of India.
Brother of the legendary Hanif Mohammad, the all-rounder went on to play 57 Tests and 10 ODIs for Pakistan before retiring in 1978. Mohammad praised India’s ability to constantly produce world-class batsmen while reminiscing about the rivalry with Pakistan’s arch-rivals and neighbours.
“We used to be such fierce competitors on the field and such good friends off it. You guys just keep producing great batsmen from Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli,” he added.
With Imran Khan all set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mohammad hoped that the former skipper could lead the country in the same way he led the cricket team.
“I just hope he leads the country the way he led the Pakistan team. Cricket will probably not be on his mind. He would have bigger issues to deal with,” he remarked.