Melbourne: Australian Darren Lehmann will be given no special consideration just because he could miss crucial games at the World Cup when Match Referee Clive Lloyd decides the penalty to be imposed for his racist comment on Saturday.
Lehmann reportedly referred to the Sri Lankan players as “black” in a two-word obscenity shouted by him when entering the Australian dressing room after being marginally run out in a tri-series clash with Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old could face a ban of up to eight one-dayers if found guilty, threatening his participation in the World Cup.
Lloyd, a former West Indies captain, will adjudicate when the ICC charge against Lehmann is heard in Adelaide on Saturday. Lloyd said all players knew the risk they took if they breached the code of conduct.
That Lehmann could miss a number of games in the World Cup was irrelevant to the hearing. “I really can’t think ‘well, we have the World Cup coming up’,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW. “They knew that before. Anyone who transgresses now knows they can lose big time.”
He said he had no qualms about being a one-man jury in the case. “This is probably the highest level (offence) we’ve had at this time, but it’s no problem,” Lloyd said. “I’ll be able to handle it.”
He said he and the Sri Lankans had already accepted Lehmann’s apology and would have taken no further action had the ICC not charged him after Lloyd had considered the case closed.
Lloyd said he had never heard similar racist comments during his long career.
“It’s not something I’ve encountered while playing,” Lloyd said. “I think as cricketers ... We have to guard against such things. We are ambassadors for our country, and the game really. The game has gone through quite a dramatic period over the past couple of years, so we have to guard against those things.”
“Darren has fought his way back into the side and obviously he’s had a couple of setbacks,” Australia coach John Buchanan told reporters in Adelaide on Friday. “It’s not ideal but I can’t see it (the ICC disciplinary hearing) jeopardising his future career.”
Buchanan said Australia were working hard at dealing with the controversy although they had hoped it would end when Lloyd decided to take no action. “We thought the matter was handled, but the ICC weren’t satisfied with that, they have laid the charge,” Buchanan said.
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said: “I am aware that Mr Lehmann has apologised for his actions and that the Sri Lanka team was reluctant to lay any formal charges.
“I have, however, carefully considered the situation and, in the interests of eradicating racial vilification in international cricket, I am bound to lay this charge.”