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    Lehmann hints at splitting coaching duties


    Darren Lehman believes that the increasingly hectic international schedule will result in splitting the Australian coaching duties between the red-ball and white-ball formats.

    The Australian head coach will return to supervise the national squad ahead of the upcoming five-match Ashes series set to begin at The Gabba in Brisbane, from November 23 after he skipped the limited-overs tour of India in September-October. David Saker, the bowling coach, was the stand-in coach for the tour. This wasn't the first-time that Lehmann had missed a series involving the national side. In February, he was with the Test team in India even as Australia featured in a three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against Sri Lanka at home, with Justin Langer holding fort as the stand-in coach then with Ricky Ponting and Jason Gillespie as additional coaches for the series.

    "I think it will get to a stage where I'll probably have to look at changing that setup," Lehmann told on Tuesday (October 24). "I know speaking to (former England coach) Andy Flower for example ... he didn't like it so much, but I think the way that the game is going, you've got no choice now," he added.

    With the advent of the World Test championship, tentatively scheduled to begin in 2019, and the increasing number of bilateral T20I series being played, Lehmann believes it's only apt that the duty of coaching the national team be split between two different coaches. "You can't split them three ways - Tests, one-dayers and T20 - some of the time there's no point in another coach coming in, it's just logistical nightmares, so I think you'd probably go white ball, red ball," he said.

    With plenty of T20 leagues mushrooming all over the world, Lehmann says that a time will come when teams tend to have altogether different squads for Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI). This, he added, makes more sense to have different professional coaches to handle the two different aspects of the game.

    "And cricket is really getting specialized. You can see a time when down the track ... I don't know how many years but there'll be really significant changes and the XIs will be separate XI for each format for in red-ball and white-ball cricket," Lehmann said. "And that's happening now anyway, just because it's the only way you can keep the players on the park. But then you've got big tournaments which are really important to win and your best side has to be available.

    "And there's always different stories, (such as) how (can) the young guys get an opportunity at the next level if you don't give them the opportunity when you get a chance? So there's pros and cons everywhere - it's just how you balance it out," he added.

    If Australia do intend to go down the route prescribed by Lehmann and let the South Australian handle just the Test team, there are plenty of capable coaches waiting in the wings to takeover the reigns of the team in the shorter formats of the game. Justin Langer, currently the coach of Western Australia as well as Big Bash League champions, Perth Scorchers, is the obvious front-runner while the likes of Ponting, who has served a stint as the head coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Mumbai Indians and Jason Gillespie, who coached Yorkshire to two successive County Championship titles, are also in the mix.

    Meanwhile, former Australian stars, Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers, will join designated tour squads during the build-up to the Ashes. The visitors will prepare for the Test series with a four-day practice match against Cricket Australia XI (CAXI) in Adelaide, starting from November 8. Harris will serve as the head coach of CAXI with Rogers as his deputy.

    Graeme Hick, Troy Cooley and John Davison will also be involved in coaching the CA XI team, in their four-day game against England XI, in Townsville (November 15-18), ahead of the first Test in Brisbane and the two-day game in Perth (December 9-10), ahead of the third Ashes Test.

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