London: Darren Lehmann could face a fine from the International Cricket Council after accusing Stuart Broad of “blatant cheating” and inciting Australian crowds to abuse him on this winter’s Ashes tour.
His bosses at Cricket Australia will not be taking disciplinary action, but will remind Lehmann to be more careful in his public comments, after an interview with a Melbourne radio station on the eve of the final Investec Ashes Test.
Lehmann referred to Broad as a “cheat” for not walking when he edged a ball to first slip in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, and urged Australian fans to “give it to him” during the return series, adding he hopes he “goes home crying”.
The comments could lead to a fine from the ICC under level two of its code of conduct, which covers “language that is obscene, offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another player”.
The maximum punishment is a fine of 50 per cent of a match fee. Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, said Lehmann’s comments could endanger England players when they go to Australia.
“These boys go out on an evening, they don’t sit in their hotel room,” Hussain said on Sky Sports News.
“That’s more likely where Broad will have to be careful, because after these words, there might be some Aussie out there that, after having a few beers on an evening, wants to have a little go at Broad.”
Lehmann’s interview was largely conducted in a jokey style with a radio show on Melbourne’s Triple M network. But Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds have both faced disciplinary action from Cricket Australia in the past after being lured into making unwise comments by the radio station.
Hayden described Harbhajan Singh as a “little obnoxious weed” in 2008 and Symonds called Brendon McCullum a “lump of s--” in 2009. Both were disciplined by Cricket Australia for making “detrimental public comment,” and the board will be accused of double standards if it does not take action against the head coach. But it will not want to curb Lehmann’s natural straight-talking style, which has brought improved relations with the media, or discipline a coach they appointed only a few weeks ago. England did not rise to the bait, with James Anderson saying Broad would not be ruffled by the abuse.
“Stuart does not need any extra firing up. He is a world-class bowler. He has shown that in this series and he has played a lot of cricket, so he does not need any extra winding up.” Broad will be the pantomime villain for Australian audiences in the same way David Warner has been booed on occasions in this series. “I’m happy with that,” said Shane Watson.
“Even the last time in the Ashes series at home, especially day four and five, it felt like we were playing in England with all the Barmy Army floating around.”