Jake Lehmann’s dad Darren is the reason he won’t be selected

David Lord Columnist

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    In a perfect world, the very talented Jake Lehmann will be presented with his first baggy green at the Gabba for the first Ashes Test against England.

    But it’s an imperfect world, so through no fault of his own the 25-year-old is on a hiding to nothing, to make the 12-man squad.

    All because he’s the son of Australian head coach Darren Lehmann,

    If he’s selected nepotism will be the call from the cynics, even though Darren leaves the selection room when his son’s future is discussed.

    If he misses out, the other group of cynics will accuse the selectors of avoiding perceptions of favouritism.

    Either way Jake Lehmann is the pawn, and he doesn’t deserve that.

    In 29 Sheffield Shield games for South Australia he’s cracked six tons and nine half-centuries for a career average of 44, the best of all contenders for the number six batting spot.

    He debuted against the Vics at Adelaide in March 2015 with 54 off 105 with seven fours, with 39 in the second dig off 102 with six fours in an innings loss.

    In only his third game in 2015, Lehmann posted his career best 205 in Hobart, and in his last game 103 and 93 against the Vics at the MCG with South Australia is trouble in both digs.

    At 3-18 in the first, Lehmann and skipper Travis Head combined for a 164-run fourth wicket stand, and in the second at 3-59 Lehmann and Callum Ferguson parted company after a 212-run fourth wicket stand.

    By any standards, Jake Lehmann has done more than enough to deserve selection for the Gabba.

    Again through no fault of his own, he can’t escape the fact he’s the coach’s son.

    Jake Lehmann scores a century

    (AAP Image/George Salpigtidis)

    His 11 squad mates will never discuss any of Darren Lehmann’s decisions as either a coach or a national selector in front of him, and Darren will have to be guarded in what he says to his son about the other members of the squad.

    The cop out would be for one of them to miss out, but both deserve to be there.

    And there’s no magic wand to be waved to solve the problem.

    It’s to be hoped all parties are sensible enough to bury any negatives, and simply look at all the positives.

    And there are plenty of those.

    Jake’s inclusion would give the Australian XI six left-handed batsmen, with four in the top six – openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw, plus first drop Usman Khawaja and Lehmann.

    Pacemen Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood round out the half dozen lefties.

    That’s a big advantage for the Australians who perform far better on home tracks than they do overseas, with the one exception being skipper Steve Smith.

    His career average is 59.66 with 68.65 at home, and 53.95 overseas – mighty impressive across the board.

    But the rest of the top five have stark differences.

    Warner’s career average is 47.94, with 59.21 at home, and 38.25 overseas.

    His opening partner Renshaw’s career average is 36.64 with 63.00 at home, and just 25.67 overseas.

    Khawaja’s career average is 45.47 made up of 63.73 at home, and just 27.21 overseas.

    But the widest margin belongs to Peter Handscomb with a career average of 53.07 including a Bradmanesque 99.75 at home, and 34.40 overseas.

    But what about the Ashes chances?

    The Australian attack is in fine form, especially Starc with his record-setting hat-trick in each innings against at Hurstville last week.

    Pat Cummins and Hazlewood will share the pace duties, with Starc leaving offie Nathan Lyon to complete a four-man attack.

    The only spot left is the keeper which should see Peter Nevill recalled as the most reliable gloveman in the country, the most vital criteria of all.

    Let’s get rid of the ‘keeper must bat’ selection folly, it’s highly unlikely another Adam Gilchrist will surface in the foreseeable future – and there are certainly none available now.

    So the only spot up for grabs is number six in the batting line-up.

    For mine, despite the side issues, Jake Lehmann is the most deserving.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles