In a shocking turn of events, Darren Lehmann has stepped down as coach of the Australian cricket team.

Stand-in Australian captain Tim Paine had expected to address media at the Wanderers on Thursday ahead of the fourth Test against the Proteas, but instead Lehmann arrived and delivered the news.

The coach had told Australian media on Wednesday that he had no knowledge of the ball-tampering plans before they unfolded at Newlands, and he added that he would be staying on as coach.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland had also confirmed that Lehmann would be staying on to serve his contract until the end of the 2019 World Cup.

It made Friday’s resignation all the more surprising as Lehmann broke down into tears as he delivered the announcement.

The 48-year-old said he had not been pushed into the decision by Cricket Australia and that it was all his own doing.

He said seeing footage of former captain Steve Smith breaking down at a press conference in Australia on Thursday morning had helped him come to the decision.

It was time, Lehmann added, for Australian cricket to move forward under new leadership.

Lehmann will remain coach for the Wanderers Test in what will be his last game in charge.

“Telling the players was the toughest thing I have ever had to do,” he said. — Sport 24