Surrey CCC opener Rory Burns has claimed new Australian coach Darren Lehmann will instil a psychological backbone into the battered side ahead of the start of the Ashes tomorrow.

Lehmann took over the reins of a team wrecked by poor form and ill-discipline last month after Mickey Arthur was sacked with less than two weeks to go before the first Test, that starts at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

Burns, pictured, who has been nominated for the LV= County Championship breakthrough player of the year award, spent his winter Down Under at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy.

And, although Surrey are still looking for their first four-day win this term, the 22-year-old has clearly benefitted from his time under Lehman’s wing.

He started the season as he meant to go on with a century in his first innings against Somerset, and he followed that with knocks of 53 and 85 against rivals Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire respectively.

The latter helped Surrey salvage a draw after being forced to follow on and went a long way to seeing Burns rack up the most runs for the county to date, with 569 to his name at 40.64.

And Burns, who also opens for Banstead in the Surrey Championship, is adamant that his journey to the summit of the English game began thousands of miles away in Australia.

He said: “It all started over the winter when Mike Gatting asked me if I wanted to go to Australia for the Darren Lehman Cricket Academy and I thought there were much worse places to spend your winter than Australia, so I jumped at it.

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“And down there they focus on the psychological side of the game rather than anything technical and they helped me get into the right frame of mind.

“That is what Darren’s academy is all about, getting the mind right ahead of playing. I can see him bringing that into the Australian team and giving them a focus.”

Burns has been joined at the Oval this season by the likes of former Australia Test captain Ricky Ponting and current South African Test skipper Graeme Smith.

And rather than be wary that these stalwarts of the game were going to steal his spot in the line-up, Burns has welcomed them in with open arms as he bids to continue to improve.

He said: “It is great to be playing alongside the calibre of players like Ricky and Graeme, particularly Smith, since I have a similar technique to him, and it is great to learn from them.

“It is quite daunting at first but just seeing the way they go about things, the way they train and the effort they put in, it really opens your eyes and I am sure it will benefit me as I look to improve my own game.”