THE silence is deafening.

With every passing minute that Darren Lehmann doesn't talk, it speaks volumes for his future as national coach.

Lehmann's position as head coach appears untenable, no matter what his level of involvement in this specific incident might have been.

Bowling coach David Saker is also likely to come under extreme fire from Cricket Australia investigators arriving in Cape Town over what he knew about the Cameron Bancroft ball-tampering episode so flagrantly caught on candid camera.

Lehmann’s role in the cheating must be explained. (Mark Stewart)
Lehmann’s role in the cheating must be explained. (Mark Stewart)

Kevin Pietersen says Lehmann and Saker are the ones who should be held to account the most.

"Anyone heard from Lehmann? (David) Saker? That's Head Coach & Bowling Coach. Pretty instrumental in all of this ...," Pietersen tweeted.

"Slept on it ... Lehmann, Saker & the leadership group's jobs are untenable! They've disgraced a great cricketing nation & Test cricket!"

Trent Woodhill, a batting mentor to some of Australia's stars, issued a cryptic tweet which read: "Coaches without integrity can destroy a team and individuals."

The task confronting Cricket Australia's investigators who have arrived in Cape Town couldn't be more complicated.

They must determine: who were the conspirators and the architects?

Who were the players and staff who knew something but did or could do nothing?

And who was completely in the dark and innocent?

To fully rebuild Australian cricket's destroyed culture, investigators must dissect all three shades, because the more likely scenario is the alleged meeting as was described by Steve Smith in the press conference never actually took place.

Rather, it's more likely there was simply an understanding between just about everyone in the team that this was happening.

Did Smith act with or without Lehmann‘s knowledge? And which is worse? (Phil Hillyard)
Did Smith act with or without Lehmann‘s knowledge? And which is worse? (Phil Hillyard)

This scenario might be even worse, and it reflects worst on Lehmann.

Former Australia coach Mickey Arthur was sacked for ineffectively trying to change a culture problem back in 2013. This time Lehmann must go for failing to do anything about a different but also dysfunctional culture that has now turned toxic.

Cricket Australia must now turn to Ricky Ponting or if he won't do it, Justin Langer to restore the reputation of the baggy green once more.

Lehmann's walkie talkie conversation with 12th man Peter Handscomb as the dramatic events played out on Saturday in Cape Town certainly appeared damning.

Lehmann and player Smith congratulate Morne Morkle. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Lehmann and player Smith congratulate Morne Morkle. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)

The conversation lasted all of about 10 seconds yet Handscomb was wise enough to scurry out to the middle, put on a big grin and deliver the message that prompted Cameron Bancroft to try and bury the yellow tape in his underwear.

This suspicious sequence is yet to be explained, although Steve Smith's categorical denial that the coaching staff had any involvement deserves to be taken at face value.

But for Lehmann, it doesn't change all that much.

Even if he had no direct knowledge of this specific incident he should know more than the 12th man.

He's the head coach.

Once upon a time the buck would have stopped entirely with Steve Smith, but when Lehmann took over from Arthur, he was appointed with greater responsibility and power than any coach in Australian history.

Cricket would mirror football sports and make the coach the No. 1 boss - at least outside the parameters of the picket fence.

 

During his up-and-down tenure as coach, Lehmann has regularly used the defence - "playing the Australian way".

It has been used to justify aggressive shots in the middle of batting collapses, and the aggressive on-field behaviour.

Whatever this Australian team has become in the past few sorry days, Lehmann must also take responsibility for.



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