A superbly talented player, the stockily-built Darren Lehmann was a free-scoring left-handed batsman, and an underestimated left-arm orthodox spin bowler. As an out-and-out strokeplayer, he treated spectators to an audacious mixture of swashbuckling aggression and deft finesse. From the time that he burst on to the first-class scene in Australia as a 17-year-old in the 1987-88 season, Lehmann built an imposing record in both his home country and with the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
He achieved a telling milestone by playing more first-class games and scoring more runs than any other Australian - until Michael Hussey - before making his Test debut in Bangalore in 1998. His first-class average is well over 50, and after appearing to have blown the few Test opportunities that came his way, he bucked the trend of youth winning out by establishing himself in the Australian side at 33 with a maiden hundred at Port-of-Spain in his tenth Test, and then two against both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the next 12 months. Named stand-in vice-captain for the 2004 India tour when Ricky Ponting broke his thumb, Lehmann offered to give up his place to Michael Clarke after his amazing debut century at Bangalore, and limped out of the series after the third Test with a torn hamstring. However, he returned for the home summer.
Lehmann's talents won him far more regular opportunities in Australia's one-day international team, particularly during the late 1990s, and on the restructuring of the country's limited-overs squad in early 2002. In 1999 he had the honour of hitting the winning runs in the World Cup final at Lord's, and was a key member of the side that defended the title four years later, although his entry into the tournament was delayed by a suspension for a racist dressing-room outburst. On the domestic front he was no less effective, and was an integral member of winning Sheffield Shield sides in 1990-91 and 1995-96 and Yorkshire's victorious County Championship team of 2001. He is now the leading run scorer in Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup history and showed his desire had not waned last summer by piling up 1168 runs at 89.84. The peak came during a career-best 301 against Western Australia at the Adelaide Oval, an innings that ended with 116 from 87 balls in the second session. Only a late stutter prevented him from challenging Michael Bevan's record for most runs in a season.
Following his retirement from first-class cricket in November 2007, he was appointed coach of IPL side Deccan Chargers from 2009 to 2012 before moving to the Kings XI Punjab. He coached Queensland during the 2010/11 KFC Twenty20 Big Bash and in June 2013 he was appointed the coach of the Australian cricket team two weeks before the commencement of the 2013 Ashes series.
Darren Lehmann travels from South Australia Australia