IPL 2021: Darren Lehman reveals, DC coach Ricky Ponting wanted to manage Australia’s T20 team, sandpapergate scandal changed his mind

Former Australia men’s cricket team head coach Darren Lehmann has revealed he wanted Ricky Ponting to manage the T20 team. The former Australia skipper has been with Delhi Capitals since 2018 and has achieved great results, taking DC to their maiden IPL final last season. He had also been the interim coach of Australia in 2017.

Darren Lehman wanted former Aussie captain in the T20 head coach role before the Sandpaper Gate scandal blew up Australian cricket during the 2018 tour of South Africa and maintains that the roles should be split. “I look back now and I think I coached too long,” Lehmann told the Herald and The Age. “I probably should have bowed out 12 months before that. I reckon four years is a good cycle when you’re away from home 300 days a year.”

“If you split the role there is more longevity because you don’t have to do everything. And it has to be done properly so the T20 team can specialise. That’s just sensible.”

An assistant coach to Darren Lehman at times through the 2017-18 summer and subsequent white-ball tour of New Zealand, Ponting made it clear he was keen to be Australia’s T20 coach.

Having won an IPL title coaching the Mumbai Indians, Ponting is currently coaching the Delhi Capitals in the UAE, who sit on top of the table. He told the Herald and The Age he was “very interested” at the time.

“I had a few chats with Pat Howard. It never got to the detail of specifics, timing, resources, structure etc as there was no time pressure for that to happen,” Ponting said. “It was an open-ended discussion.”

“However the events in South Africa in March 2018 led to so much change in Australian cricket and the appointment of Justin Langer to replace Darren Lehmann, across all three forms, was absolutely the right decision.

“My life has changed a lot since then. IPL continues to be my coaching priority and it works well with my media commitments with the Seven Network, Cricket Australia and Sky in the UK.

“The rest of the year is spent with my family and enjoying a work/life balance that I have never had before. Right now, I would have to give up so much to take on a national role. It’s just the wrong time for me.”