Cricket Australia Chief James Sutherland has declared Darren Lehmann played no part in the ball-tampering scandal. He will remain in place as Australian coach for the remainder of his contract.
Meanwhile Steve Smith and David Warner were hit with 12 month bans. For his role in the tampering saga, Cameron Bancroft copped a nine month ban.
Since the cheating was uncovered, there has still been plenty of scrutiny on the Aussie coach and his role, if any, in what transpired against South Africa.
When the cameras caught Cameron Bancroft pulling an item out of his pocket to use on the ball while fielding, it was impossible to not think something questionable was occurring.
It was also at this moment the cameras showed Darren Lehmann and 12th man Peter Handscomb in conversation on walkie talkies.
The live footage only increased speculation on how many were involved with the disgraceful on-field actions. But the investigation by Cricket Australia have confirmed the Australian coach was in the dark and was only trying to ascertain exactly what was going on.
As the findings and punishments were released on Wednesday, James Sutherland defended the position of the coach.
“Darren Lehmann was not in any way involved in the incident. (Lead investigator) Iain Roy has satisfied himself on that. And he (Lehmann) continues as coach under his contract. In Darren’s defence … he sent a message to say ‘what the hell is going on?’ — he didn’t use hell, he used another word.”
Repairing the damage
The punishments handed out by Cricket Australia to the players involved are the most severe in Australian cricket for on-field behaviour. But there is still much work to do in regaining the trust and respect from many in the general public and cricket community.
Darren Lehmann has generally been highly respected both as a player and his role as coach. He has overseen great success for the Australian cricket team on-field.
But it is not only this latest incident that has stirred debate. The culture of the team has been questioned for some time.
The notion of pushing the boundaries and competing hard sounds fine in theory. But when there was controversy and issues with things such as sledging in the past, the Australian team often seemed to be the ones involved. Are the players at fault for this aggression or are the behaviours a result of instruction from above?
Darren Lehmann future
Darren Lehmann may have been cleared. But the former test batsman knows there is a massive task ahead in changing the public perception of Australian cricket.
“(I’m) disappointed, embarrassed, hurt for the game. We need to work to bring the respect back from the fans.”
Everyone likes to win but not at all costs. It will be fascinating to see if Boof is the man who can repair what many view as a toxic culture in the Australian dressing room.
Time will also tell if the absence of David Warner helps this process.