> Skip to content

Article  •  3 November 2016

 

Playing a straight bat

Adam Gilchrist on what makes Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann tick.

Coach traces Darren Lehmann’s path to the top coaching job in Australian cricket, and offers a view from the dressing room of a champion sporting team. Through the eyes of a world-beating player and coach, readers get insights into things like player management, the pivotal relationship between coach and captain, dealing with the mental side of the game, and the highs and lows of what Lehmann describes as ‘the best job in the world’.

From the pages of Coach, here world-champion wicket keeper and batsman Adam Gilchrist introduces the qualities that make his friend and teammate ‘Boof’ a natural-born leader.

The first time ‘Boof’ and I met on a cricket field was hardly an auspicious occasion for either of us.

It was the Mercantile Mutual Cup final at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the summer of 1992–93, the showpiece limited-overs event of the domestic season. I was playing just my second game for New South Wales and Darren was representing Victoria at the time.

We both made ducks – he was leg before wicket first ball to Brad McNamara, who went on to work as executive producer on Channel Nine’s cricket coverage, while I was bowled by Damien Fleming in the closing stages of a match we won by four wickets in the final over.

I reckon you would have got long odds at that stage that the pair of us would play alongside each other in two ICC Cricket World Cup-winning sides and that Darren would become a successful coach at domestic, franchise and international level, helping Australia to the game’s biggest prize on home soil in 2015 and in doing so becoming just the second person after Geoff Marsh to win the World Cup as a player and a coach.

But, on the face of it, his success should not come as a surprise to anyone, and for two reasons: he is a terrific cricket person and an equally great people person too.

You would not label him a ‘cricket tragic’ in the way that former Prime Minister John Howard describes himself, but Darren is someone who lives and breathes the game. Growing up in a dressing room under David Hookes was the start of his life soaking up cricketing knowledge, and his continuing desire to do that marks him out as an ideal person to learn from and a great role model for young players. He has got the life and the cricketing experiences to be able to guide his players on the right path.

At the same time, Darren is not what you would call a know-it-all and he makes no secret of the fact he does not have all the answers, something that is refreshing in a leader… he has a clear idea about how he sees his role in helping the captain to run a side and he is very much from a collaborative school of coaching. He challenges you as players to help come up with the answers, as that is the best way for players to learn. Whether you are a debutant or a 200-game veteran, your views are equally valid as far as he is concerned.

Darren is a social animal too, there is no doubt about that, and we have had many great nights out as well as sharing plenty of laughs along the way in dressing rooms from Perth to Johannesburg, Mohali to Mumbai and plenty of other places besides. He has the enviable ability to make people relax in his company and put them at their ease. He makes you smile and, as a coach, he makes you want to play for him and run through a brick wall if you have to.

When you put all those characteristics together and throw in the fact he was an outstanding player, then it is absolutely no surprise to me that Boof has proved to be such a good and such a successful coach.

And although he credits me in this book with helping to kick-start his coaching career by encouraging him to apply for the role at the Deccan Chargers, I think of that as unnecessary praise, because with his knowledge of the game and his ability to make people want to listen to and follow him, his rise up the coaching ranks would have been inevitable whether or not he got that opportunity. The fact that he helped transform us from easy-beats to champions in one season sums up the effect he can have.


Coach Darren Lehmann

This is a book that is a must-read for everyone keen to get an insight into how a world-class sporting team ticks.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Article
Creating a philosophy

Darren Lehmann’s coaching philosophy is all about maintaining perspective.

Article
Good Books about Tough Topics

Figuring out how to talk to children about difficult emotions can sometimes feel impossible. Books can offer a good gateway to starting these conversations. Here are some books that might help you to navigate those tricky topics.

Article
The eight Plant Proof principles

Set yourself up for good health with a whole-food plant-based diet.

Article
Cook for mum this Mother’s Day!

We know it can be tricky to find the perfect recipe to make mum for Mother’s Day so we’ve put together this list of fantastic recipe ideas from some of our favourite cookbooks. Whether you’re looking for a cosy soup or a sweet treat, or something in between, we’ve got you covered!

Article
The Unsolved Mysteries that Inspired House of Hollow

Author Krystal Sutherland shares her favourite stories.

Article
Michelle Obama: note to self

The First Lady of the United States pens a letter to her younger self.

Article
Locked Down: Real Reader Reviews

We wanted to know what young Kiwi readers thought about Jesse O's book Locked Down (hint: they loved it!). Read on to see their reviews.

Article
Locked Down: A note from the author

When Jesse O wrote Locked Down (then titled Staying Home) back in 2011, she never imagined that almost a decade later, the events of her novel would prove spookily accurate . . .

Article
The road trip that inspired Showtym Adventures 8!

Syd, the Muster Pony tells the story of the Wilson sisters' most epic adventure yet, and it's inspired by a real-life road trip Kelly and her sisters took in 2001! (warning: this article might induce a desperate longing to go adventuring around the country, read on at your own risk)

Article
Suzi McAlpine on the inspiration behind Beyond Burnout

Find out the inspiration behind Beyond Burnout, as well as what you'll learn from reading it!

Article
YA fiction we can't wait to read in 2021!

From contemporary rom-coms, to literary debuts, to the creepiest modern gothic fairytale you could imagine (seriously . . . it is AWESOME!), we've got some stellar YA lined up for you this year. Read on for recommendations for your TBR pile!

Article
This will be hard

In How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates outlines just some of the hurdles between humanity and a net-zero carbon world.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles