Darren Lehmann steps down as Australian cricket coach

Head Coach of the Australian cricket team Darren Lehmann responds to questions during a press conference in Johannesburg

He promised a change in approach to the game from Australia, reeling not only from the scandal but accusations of boorish behaviour and playing contrary to the spirit of the game.

Now coaching Pakistan, he said the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, which saw captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner banned from all worldwide and domestic cricket for 12 months, was the culmination of years of inaction.

Arthur continued: 'I have been bitterly disappointed watching the Australian cricket team over the last few years.

Smith and Warner, who have been sacked as captain and vice-captain respectively, were banned for 12 months, while opening batsman Bancroft was suspended for nine months.

Arthur said when he was in charge, he found the cricketers "were a law unto themselves" and the homework affair was a "microcosm of a problem that remains with the Australian team to this day: the sense of entitlement among the players".

'Despite generational change, independent reviews and too many behavioural spotfires to list, Cricket Australia and the national team had demonstrated no real willingness or desire to improve the culture within their organisation from season to season.

"As a coach you feel for them as people", Lehmann said.

China to attend meeting on Afghan peace process in Uzbek capital
They also called upon the Taliban to "accept this offer for a peace process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned". The head of state noted that security of Afghanistan is equal to security of Uzbekistan.

"The team has been seen quite negatively in recent times and there is a need for us to change some of the philosophies about the way we play".

"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 [Friday]".

An emotional Lehmann, cleared of any wrongdoing by a Cricket Australia investigation, told reporters on Wednesday that the banned players, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, were "not bad people" and called for them to be given a second chance as he expressed concerns over their mental state. There has been no need for the Australians to play this way'.

"They had to take decisive action".

"I'm ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I've been thinking about my position for a while. Then I spoke to some of the players at tea time and said we'd deal with it at the end of play, which obviously happened through the process".

"I feel this was tough, but speaking to the players and saying goodbye, telling them the news, that's the toughest thing I've ever had to do". "The job to fix the damage to the Australian cricket brand is underway".

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