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Last Updated:  Saturday, 1 February, 2003, 15:58 GMT

Lehmann: 'I almost quit'
Darren Lehmann
Lehmann talks to reporters

Australian batsman Darren Lehmann has revealed how he considered retiring from the game after being banned for making a racist remark.

Lehmann was handed a five-match ban by International Cricket Council match referee Clive Lloyd after a dressing room outburst during a game against Sri Lanka last month.

He was found guilty of shouting a racially motivated obscenity, contrary to the ICC Code of Conduct.

It cost him the chance to play in the VB Series final against England and he will also miss Australia's opening World Cup match against Pakistan on 11 February.

"I contemplated giving the game away. I gave it lots of thought. I was very unhappy with the way things transpired.

"To be branded a racist is a pretty tough call. Everyone knows who I am and what I'm like, and I'm definitely not one of those," he said.

"I made my apology and it was accepted on the night, but things got out of control from there."

It's been by far the toughest period of my life
Darren Lehmann

Lehmann is hoping to put the matter behind him by helping Australia retain the title they won at Lord's in 1999.

The left-hander has scored 2,285 runs in 85 one-day internationals, including three centuries, the most recent of them against Sri Lanka in Perth in December.

He will be a key figure in the middle order at the start of the tournament with Michael Bevan likely to miss two or three matches because of a groin injury.

Lehmann, the brother in law of England all-rounder Craig White, also thanked his family and teammates for their support since the ban was imposed.

"I've certainly found out who my friends are. They really stuck by me through this tough time and for that I'm always indebted to those people. They know who they are.

"The other people? Well, I don't really care about the other people too much."





Links to more Australia stories


 

SEE ALSO
Lehmann warned by Yorkshire
24 Jan 03 |  Yorkshire
McGrath new Tykes captain
13 Feb 03 |  Yorkshire
Lehmann banned for five games
18 Jan 03 |  Cricket


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