FORMER Australian fielding consultant Mike Young has fired some stern final words of advice to head coach Darren Lehmann, following Lehmann's decision to part ways with the American, a former minor-league baseball coach.
Despite Lehmann's success in less than two years in the role - winning back the Ashes and World Cup titles, and beating South Africa away from home - Young said he believed Lehmann should take a step back and give the captain more on-field autonomy.
Lehmann's new fielding consultant is former South Australia and Australia teammate Greg Blewett.
Young's involvement with the Australian cricket team ran over a 15-year period, during which time the team won three World Cups.
The 59-year-old, warmly embraced by former coach John Buchanan, described the Queenslander as a humble operator who tried to stay out of the limelight, instead deflecting praise on to his players, and "taking a bullet for them" in tough times.
But Young was not so glowing in his praise of Lehmann, echoing Test legend Shane Warne's comments from last summer that Lehmann should leave the on-field decisions to his captain.
"Darren needs to step back and realise his role as head coach is to work as a facilitator of the team, and not take the credit for some of the team's achievements," Young told APN.
"Cricket is the only team sport on the planet which is not head-coach driven.
"The most important thing cricket coaches need to realise is they should work more on developing the players as people, instead of as cricketers."
Young said he accepted Lehmann's decision to have Blewett as the team's fielding consultant, and said he would take some time off before re-evaluating his future.
"Lehmann wanted Blewett in there, and there was no room for two. I wish the team all the best," he said.
"I have no beef with that - I came back to help out with the World Cup, and I knew this was coming a long time ago."
Cricket Australia's executive general manager of high performance, Pat Howard, said he was disappointed by Young's comments.
"That's Mike's view, but it's certainly not one shared by me or any member of the Australian support staff. His comments are disappointing after such a great period for Australian cricket," he said.
"Darren Lehmann's record as national coach speaks for itself. He has been outstanding.
"These comments won't distract us from our next challenge which is an away series against the West Indies, then England."
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