Stress of leading Aussies ‘played part’ in Boof heart scare
Steve Smith and David Warner have reached out to their former coach on their return to Cape Town, after Darren Lehmann revealed the stresses of marshalling Australia may have played some part in his heart scare.
It was two years ago that the Sandpapergate scandal ripped apart the dressing room, but all that was put into perspective earlier this month when Lehmann underwent a triple bypass.
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Lehmann admits that the stresses and demands of being Australian coach may have contributed to his major heart seizure, with the fallout from the events in Cape Town a particularly taxing episode which took him months to overcome.
Smith and Warner have been among several Australian players to check in with their former coach of late, as Lehmann proudly keeps track of their return to South Africa.
"They have been good. They have contacted me lately to see how I have been travelling," Lehmann told News Corp.
"I keep in contact with them. They have spoken really well in the press in South Africa and I have been very impressed the way they handled it."
Lehmann revealed to News Corp that he has given up cigarettes after 30 years of smoking up to 20 a day.
But he concedes the rigours of being in the high profile and relentless position of Australian coach for five years may also have impacted on his health.
"It probably played its part," he said.
"Travelling 300 days a year, you are never home.
"Lifestyle (wise), you are away and eating in hotels all the time which would not help it.
"Stress wise, I had the best job in the world coaching. It is great fun. There are stresses with it, more so outside the game than inside the game.
"It probably had a bit to play in that regard but at the end of the day it is done and dusted so it is more a case of enjoying the game."
Australia arrived at The Newlands ground ahead of Wednesday night's Twenty20 decider against South Africa - the first time the team had walked over the threshold to the dressing room where the infamous sandpaper plot was conceived.
It was the scene of the lowest point in the careers of Warner and Smith, and possibly others who were also in that Test team from 2018.
However, according to fast bowler Pat Cummins, who was there for that fateful Test, there was no need to acknowledge the return to where history happened.
It was business as usual for the Australians, who had been pleasantly surprised by the lack of hostility that have faced - so far.
"No to be honest, we haven't spoken about it at all. It feels like a long time ago. We've played a lot of cricket between then and now, we have played South Africa a lot so it's just business as usual here," he said.
"Everyone we speak to has moved well and truly on. It's a distant memory I think for all the players and the fans that showed up as well.
"We didn't really know what to expect but the crowds have been brilliant. They've been really respectful and really good. I don't really know what we were expecting. Maybe something a bit more hostile but they've been excellent."