Australia coach Darren Lehmann has been fined for comments in a radio interview in which he accused England player Stuart Broad of blatant cheating. Tensions during the Ashes series have been simmering since the first test when Broad refused to walk after edging a ball from rookie spinner Ashton Agar to Australian captain Michael Clarke at first slip. He went on to share an important partnership that helped England clinch a tight result, and has since defended his decision to stand his ground and await the umpire's decision despite knowing he was out. The umpire was unsighted and didn't give him out, and the Australians had run out of referrals to the TV umpire.
The International Cricket Council announced it had fined Lehmann 20 percent of his match fee — Australian media reported the figure to be around $3,000 — after he pleaded guilty to the charge of publicly criticizing and making inappropriate comments about a player. Lehmann made the comments in a lighthearted interview with an Australian commercial FM radio network when he encouraged fans to "give it to (Broad) right from the word go for the whole summer" when the return Ashes series starts in November. England retained the Ashes at home with two tests to spare, and had a 3-0 lead ahead of the ongoing fifth test at The Oval.
Lehmann is renowned for his relaxed, straight-talking manner. The ex-test batsman was rushed into the national coaching job last month, immediately before the Ashes series, after Mickey Arthur was suddenly fired. His comments about Broad were heavily criticized in England, and former England captain Nasser Hussain questioned whether the fast bowler's safety would be put at risk because of Lehmann's remarks. "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."
Under the ICC code of conduct, chief executive David Richardson had five days to decide whether to lay a charge against Lehmann, who could have appeared before a hearing if he'd disputed the charges. "Whilst noting the context and nature of the comments made, showing mutual respect for one's fellow professionals — including for coaches, players and match officials — is a cornerstone of how we play the game," Richardson said.