March 28, 2018 / 3:12 PM / 6 months ago

RPT-Cricket-Australia coach Lehmann wants forgiveness for banned trio

(changes slug and category code, no change to story)

JOHANNESBURG, March 28 (Reuters) - Australia coach Darren Lehmann has apologised to the public and called for forgiveness for the “grave mistake” made by the trio of test players banned for their role in the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked the sport.

An emotional Lehmann, cleared of any wrongdoing by a Cricket Australia investigation, told reporters on Wednesday that the banned players, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, were “not bad people” and called for them to be given a second chance as he expressed concerns over their mental state.

The coach also said the team would need to improve their behaviour on and off the pitch in order to win back fan respect after Bancroft was caught tampering with the ball in the 322-run third test defeat by South Africa at Newlands. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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