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February 23, 2010
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Players/Officials: Brett Lee
Brett Lee, Australia's fourth-highest wicket-taker, has retired from Test cricket after admitting his body could no longer handle the demands of the five-day game. Lee has decided to focus on ODIs and Twenty20s as he aims to rejoin Australia's team and collect a second World Cup trophy in 2011.
"I'm not 21, I'm 33," Lee told Seven. "Trying to bowl at 150kph for five days is very hard on the body."
Lee, who took 310 wickets in 76 Tests, said his most special achievement was playing for more than a decade in Australia's top team. His final game in a baggy green was in Melbourne in 2008 and he limped off towards the end of the match with a fractured left foot, which required an operation and another long lay-off.
An untimely side strain kept him out of the first three 2009 Ashes Tests and he was angry to miss the final two matches when the series was at stake. The selectors doubted he could last five days and were quickly proved right. Lee was approaching peak form again during the Champions Trophy, but was forced home from the one-day tour of India with an elbow problem.
When the injury required surgery he took time out to decide whether he wanted to go through another extended recovery. Cutting his workload became the only option and the decision also keeps him closer to his young son Preston.
During his time at the top Lee suffered career-threatening elbow and foot injuries, but was able to return to the Test team each time and regain his high speeds. While he spent much of his career behind Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie as a high-voltage weapon, he also proved he could lead the attack after McGrath retired.
In series against Sri Lanka, India and West Indies in 2007 and 2008 he captured 58 wickets in nine matches but was unable to keep up the pace. He suffered with a serious stomach bug in India later that year, which robbed him of weight and impact in the Tests, and struggled in Australia's home campaign. He picked up the tenth and final five-wicket haul of his career against New Zealand in Adelaide but took only one wicket in two matches against South Africa before hobbling away, ultimately forever.
Lee will follow in the footsteps of Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram in becoming a limited-overs specialist. He has an IPL contract with Kings XI Punjab worth US$900,000 a season and strong business and music interests in India. There is also another World Cup trophy to hope for.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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