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Boof cleared to rejoin embattled Aussie squad

Cricket

Australian coach Darren Lehmann has recovered from deep vein thrombosis and will link up with the one-day international squad tomorrow in Wellington.

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Lehmann was initially expected to miss the entire three-match ODI series against New Zealand because of DVT, having been hospitalised on January 23.

There were also fears the mentor would stay home for the ensuing two-Test series.

“Darren has received clearance from specialists in Australia to travel on Saturday and return to work,” Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer John Orchard said.

Lehmann is heading straight to the Cake Tin on Saturday but will miss the start of the second ODI.

He will remain in Wellington, where the first Test starts next Friday (Feb 12), with batting guru Michael Di Venuto to continue as caretaker coach in the final ODI at Hamilton.

The news will help settle a 14-man squad reeling from Australia’s worst loss under Steve Smith.

Smith and George Bailey both downplayed the impact of Lehmann’s absence on the group after a shambolic 159-run loss to NZ in Auckland.

Even so, the side’s form has dipped dramatically since Lehmann was taken to Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred hospital on the same day their 18-match ODI winning streak at home ended.

Having claimed a thrilling victory in that SCG match, India powered to a 3-0 clean sweep of the following Twenty20 series.

Australia then started their tour of NZ in woeful fashion, a collapse of 5-8 following the hosts’ total of 8-307.

“It would be a bit of a knee-jerk or shallow reaction to say it was all down to Boof being here or not being here,” Bailey told radio station SEN.

“Absolutely, we’d love to have him here as head coach but I don’t think we can pass the buck.

“I don’t think he would have scored any runs on that wicket.

“Boof’s been around the group for long enough and we’ve all played enough with him, including the coaching staff.

“The language is all the same. The meetings are all run the same. We’ve prepared the same.”

Bailey pointed out Lehmann was with the ODI squad in 2015, when they suffered a collapse of 8-26 against the same opposition at the same ground.

“He was the coach here when we played in the World Cup 12 months ago and it was much the same result,” the veteran batsman said.

“We just haven’t played particularly well at this ground the last couple of times we’ve played here.”

Smith also called on his teammates to take responsibility after being embarrassed at Eden Park.

“He’s unwell at the moment obviously, and he’ll be back soon enough,” the skipper said.

“It was certainly the players [at fault].”

-AAP

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