Dennis Lillee quits as Australian coach over money demands
Australia’s bowling coach, Dennis Lillie has decided to quit coaching after being refused a pay rise. Fondly referred to as the “outstanding fast bowler of his generation”, Lillee played a significant role in reviving the career of pacer Mitchell Johnson. Lillee has helped many Australian cricketers restore confidence.
“Unfortunately, Dennis Lillee didn’t accept Cricket Australia’s offer to renew his contract,” a Cricket Australia (CA) spokesperson said.
“He is a great of the game and the door will always be open to him if he wants to return and be involved in any way,” he added.
Reports also claim that in a radio interview in February, Lillee accused Cricket Australia of “quibbling over an increase” to his pay and made it clear he would “take a stance” if they did not meet his terms.
Mitchell Johnson’s manager Sam Halvorsen praised Lillee for his contribution in Mitchell’s bowling career. “That is disappointing news. It’s absolutely disappointing that somebody of Dennis’ ilk isn’t going to be contracted to Cricket Australia,” Halvorsen said. “He was the most important figure [in Johnson's revival] as far as cricket is concerned,” he added.
Hopeful that the relationship between Lillee and Johnson would continue, Halvorsen said, “I certainly hope so. If Dennis is willing, Mitch is willing.”
Sources also say that it is not the first time Lillee has parted ways with CA over money. He quit in 2004 when CA refused to consider his demands regarding remuneration. With Lillee’s departure, CA have extended the contract of Craig McDermott for two more years.
Lillee’s other pupils include Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
“They [the young bowlers] are good and they do need direction. But at the moment I’m out of contract and, as again with Cricket Australia, they’re quibbling over an increase, so I don’t know if I’ve got a contract,” Lillee reportedly told SEN in February.
Lillee signed off by saying: “Out of the goodness of my heart I am still in touch with [Cummins], he’s a good lad and he’s got a big future, but I’m over that, I’ve got other work to do. Not particularly Pat but then everyone comes on board and Cricket Australia think ‘here he is, he’ll just continue to do it anyway’. So I’m taking a stance.”