Darren Lehmann in plea to make baggy green great again
DARREN Lehmann has hand-delivered a rousing rally cry to all past and present players, declaring it's time for Australia to reclaim its rightful place at the top of world cricket.
In a bid to galvanise the fractured spirit of the sport in the wake of the MOU war, Lehmann has taken it upon himself to pen a letter to all custodians of the baggy green and outline Australia's no-holds-barred push towards Ashes glory.
The impassioned call to arms has implored past greats to provide advice and feedback, "however out there it might be", on how his rebuilding Australian team can go to the next level.
Cricket was devoid of leadership for so many months, but Lehmann has taken the bull by the horns and laid bare his dogged determination to help turn Australia back into an international powerhouse.
"We have been hunted for a while and now it is time for us to become the hunters and get back to where we belong," Lehmann wrote in an open letter to current and ex-cricketers.
"It was only 12 months ago we were No.1 in Tests and one-dayers and for us to get back there it will only happen with all of us going in the one direction and supporting Australian cricket.
"... Whilst results haven't been as we would have liked in the past 12 months, as head coach I can promise you their work ethic is second to none at trying to get better as people first and foremost and at the game of cricket that we all love so much.
"... We are focusing on our skills now with an emphasis on being able to withstand the pressure and create pressure of our own against a variety of opponents throughout the year, both home and away.
"There is a lot of work to do for us to get back to where we want to be and no stone will be left unturned in our desire to achieve this and for all players, past and present, to be very proud of this young group."
Cricket had been cannibalising itself since May and a heated on-air debate between former Test great Michael Slater and another ex-Australian star Ed Cowan highlighted the level of division that boiled over in some quarters at the heart of the pay dispute.
Lehmann assured former greats that despite the distraction caused by the MOU, his team has been preparing strongly for this month's tour of Bangladesh and the end-of-year Ashes, and praised his troops for their professionalism throughout the saga.
Australia has wrapped up its training camp in Darwin and departs for the two Tests in the subcontinent on Friday. It's understood players selected for the September-October ODI series to follow in India have also been notified of their inclusion.