Howard: No regrets over Lehmann extension

Australia team performance manager Pat Howard has no regrets over the decision to extend Darren Lehmann's contract but said the head coach is in "uncharted territory" and faces a "great challenge".

Criticism of Australia has intensified after they were skittled out for a pitiful 85 on day one of the second Test against South Africa on Saturday after a shambolic first-innings collapse at the WACA resulted in a defeat in the opening game of the series.

That came after Steve Smith's side were whitewashed 3-0 in Sri Lanka soon after Lehmann was given a new deal which will run until October 2019.

Howard maintains it was the right move to offer Lehmann fresh terms, but said he faces a big job trying to turn Australia's fortunes around.

Asked if Cricket Australia jumped the gun in handing Lehmann a deal new, Howard said: "Not at the time it wasn't."

He added: "I have been working with Darren for a long time and I get to see him work. This is a great challenge for his coaching, I think he's in unchartered territory for him as well and we've talked about that.

"This is a great chance for him to reinvent, he's been contracted through to past 2019, which is a huge year in the calendar, there's an Ashes away and a World Cup back-to-back.

"We've got a young captain with a coach that's wanted to give the team and squad some stability, so I don't apologise for that. I made the decision and I take accountability for that."

Howard also revealed that former opening batsman Chris Rogers could be called in to help address Australia's batting frailties.

He said: "It needs more focus. That's simple. Chris was fantastic, you go back to what he and David Warner did at the Oval [in 2015], I think it was 14 runs off 10 overs, they read the situation really well.

"That patience and adaptability to read the situation there. I've really been impressed by Chris' insights and comments and I was before.

"He's got a good insight into the game ... we've talked to him about coming and talking to people around that, both technically and mentally, and about a year ago he worked with our Under-19s.

"It's a fair comment and something to drive some of our thinking."

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