Lee set to quit Tests to prolong career
Brett Lee could be set to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Flintoff, Jacob Oram and a number of other high-profile cricketers by retiring from Test cricket in a bid to prolong his one-day and Twenty20 career. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Lee is expected to confirm his decision this week and Cricket Australia has announced it will hold a press conference regarding Lee at the SCG on Wednesday morning.
At the age of 33, he currently lies fourth on the list of Australia's all-time Test wicket-takers, with 310 victims in 76 Tests dating back to his debut in 1999. However, he has not played a Test since suffering a stress fracture of the foot during Australia's home series defeat against South Africa at Melbourne in December 2008.
He was forced to sit out of the subsequent 2-1 victory in South Africa, before a side strain ruled him out of the entire Ashes campaign. An elbow injury then sidelined him for Australia's 2009-10 home series wins against West Indies and Pakistan.
In between injuries, he has featured prominently in Australia's one-day campaigns, including a 6-1 post-Ashes trouncing of England and a successful defence of their Champions Trophy title in South Africa. He was also Man of the Match as New South Wales beat Trinidad & Tobago to claim the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 title in Hyderabad.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Lee's decision to retire from Tests was influenced by a discussion with Flintoff, leading to speculation that he too could seek to pursue a freelance career to maximise his earnings in the final years of his career. On announcing his own Test retirement back in August, Flintoff stated that his ambition was to become the best one-day and Twenty20 player in the world.
His manager Chubby Chandler added that he would have received lucrative offers from at least four Twenty20 teams across the world this year, had he not been recuperating from knee surgery. Like Flintoff, Lee has a wide global appeal, with Bollywood connections adding to his marketability in India, and Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, recently stated on Twitter that Lee had committed to his 2010 contract with King's XI Punjab.