Exciting times for Australian cricket - Darren Lehmann
Australian coach Darren Lehmann believes that his team is headed for some exciting times as the newly drafted players attempt to fill the vacancy created by the retirements of the senior cricketers.
Following the recently concluded Ashes series, Australia have seen the retirements of players like Ryan Harris, Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin.
For the upcoming tour of Bangladesh the Australian selectors have decided to include young and promising talents like Cameron Bancroft and Joe Burns.
Lehmann is looking forward to see who among the new recruits puts his hand up for cementing the place vacated by the seniors.
“It’s exciting times,” Lehmann told FIVEaa radio.
“Those players were great for us for a long period of time.
“Now it’s a changing of the guard and (we’re going to) find out (who’s) the next Michael Clarke and Ryan Harris and Brad Haddin, and get the next superstar generation going.
“And that’s going to be great fun for us as a group, we’re all looking forward to it.”
Lehmann admitted that the young squad will falter at times, but he is hoping that the team can learn from the mistakes to progress in the right way.
“We know there’s going to be some pain along the way as a group, but hopefully not too much, hopefully we play good cricket straight away and away we go from there.
“But we know there’s going to be ups and downs, and they’re going to make mistakes sometimes, and that’s OK, they’re allowed to make mistakes, as long as they’re learning the game and going the right way about it.”
Among the players selected to take up the vacant spots is Usman Khawaja, who has been a promising name in the Australian domestic circuit for a few years now.
In his Test career, Khawaja has played nine games so far – six in 2011 and three in 2013 – but has failed to live up to his potential so far.
After recovering from a serious knee ligament injury, Khawaja is now given another chance to prove his mettle in the Bangladesh tour.
Iterating that the onus is now on Khawaja to prove himself to the selectors, Lehmann advised the 28-year-old to play his natural game.
“It’s up to (Khawaja) now.
“He has to just go and play and let his technique and his results and experience do the rest.
“He’ll get a good run at it.
“He’s been in and out of the side a little bit and only played a few games here and there, but to give him a good run at it and see how he goes would be exciting for the coaching group but also exciting for him and the team.”
Lehmann also opined that if Khawaja can nail down his position in the team, Australian cricket will be hugely benefitted.
“If (he) nails down that spot it will be fantastic for us going forward.
“(He’s) 28. Mike Hussey was 30, Adam Gilchrist was 30, so he can play a lot of Test cricket.
“There’s a big push from the press to go really young, but for us it’s about getting the right balance between youth and experience and we think ‘Uz’ (Khawaja) fills both those.”
Another exciting prospect for Australia is the swashbuckling all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who has largely been effective in the limited overs fixtures.
Maxwell averaged 41.50 with the bat in the recently concluded ODI campaign against England and accounted for six wickets from four innings, helping Australia in their series victory.
Praising Maxwell for batting with maturity against England, Lehmann is backing the 26-year-old to do well in Test cricket.
“(Maxwell) actually improved his batting, and the way he went about it – he took on more of a leadership role for us and he did a really good job.
“His bowling was very effective again, his fielding is spectacular, but the one thing we want from him is consistency with the bat, and he certainly showed that, which was pleasing.”
The first Test between Bangladesh and Australia which is scheduled to begin on 9th October in Chittagong will be only the fifth encounter between the two teams in the longer format.
© Cricket World 2015