Young Gun – Jake Lehmann

Uttering the name “Lehmann” is enough to send shivers to the core of England’s Test and County Championship players alike.

But the next generation will be relieved the newest Lehmann on the block plans to do his tormenting in his native Australia.

Jake is the son of Darren, formerly a prolific run-scorer with Yorkshire who is now attempting to mastermind Australia’s first Ashes series win in England since 2001.

And while “Boof”, as he is affectionately known, begins to work his magic in Cardiff against England next month, Jake, 22, aims to pile on the runs for Surrey Championship Premier Division side Reigate Priory – with whom he is to spend the 2015 season.

However Jake, who made his first-class breakthrough with South Australia in March, sees his long-term future Down Under.

“Hopefully I’ll end up playing back home where it’s a bit warmer,” said Lehmann Jnr, who has also turned out for Sussex 2nd XI this summer.

“As long as I’m scoring runs, though, I guess it doesn’t matter. I’m glad to be playing and glad to have been given an opportunity by Reigate. They’re a big club, their new grandstand is unbelievable so, so far, so good.

“I’m sure I’ll be here all season and my family will be coming over for the Ashes which is awesome. I feel like I’m hitting the ball nicely, though I’ve not got too many big scores. I feel like when you get to 30 you should get to 80, so I just need to try and kick on.”

Though Lehmann carries a name that strikes fear on these shores, it lays an extra burden on him on the other side of the globe.

On South Australia debut against Victoria Jake made 54 in his first innings, yet Darren was once again the story.

Having watched Australia beat Afghanistan in Perth 24 hours previously, Darren defied a late flight and, consequently, a missed connection to complete the 6,000km journey to Adelaide with minutes to spare in order to present Jake with the baggy red cap he himself once wore en route to becoming the all-time leading run-scorer in Australian domestic cricket.

Far from cowering under the weight of expectation though, Jake followed up his maiden half century with another 50 eight days later against Queensland.

And he hopes one day he can be mentioned in his own right, without the pre-cursor of being referred to as “Darren’s boy”.

“It’s something I have to live with,” he said. “One day maybe someone will mention me without mentioning my dad first. I’ve got to do more things than others and perhaps had better opportunities because of it.

“I’m past it now, I just go and play cricket the way I want to. I feel like I’ve worked hard to get to where I am now. I got my baggy red cap awarded by my old man, which was a great moment and it felt good to get 50.

“I knew I could make runs at this level, but to get a 50 first up was a great start. I know I need to kick on, but at the moment I’m just happy to be playing first-class cricket.

“It’s great to do so and not something I never took for granted would just come to me. There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get this far.”

This article was originally published in The Cricket Paper, June 5 2015

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