Australian news February 23, 2010

Lee retires from Tests but aims for 2011 World Cup

Cricinfo staff

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.

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  • Aditya on February 24, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Brett Lee was a great fast bowler and we should not judge him by his stats (in test matches, in ODIs they were fantastic). The fast bowlers of today have average stats compared to the greats of the previous generation(except maybe Dale Steyn but then he concedes around 3.5 runs per over). The best bowlers of today (Ntini, Zaheer, Lee) have a bowling average in the late 20s or early 30s. So let us remember the impact he made as a bowler rather than his stats.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    I CANT 4GET LEE'S LAST WARM-UP MATCH B4 ASHES wen he got injured... i mean he alwayz afta every ball put 150% efoort in, even in da warmup match... his last match wich forced him 2 quit was sensation, 15 wickets i think in 2 innings...

  • Mradul on February 24, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Cant believe Brett Lee has retired. Outside India he was my favorite player. I would add that apart from being a great fast bowler he is also a Gentleman and a real sportsman. I remember during the last visit by India to Aus during an intense battle with Sachin he accidentally sent down a beamer and for all of us it was clear that it was unintentional. Why? because it was Brett lee, a true gentleman and that was also acknowledged by Sachin after the match that He too knew that the beamer was an accident only because Brett Lee said so. We were happy to take his word and admire his Sportsman spirit. He will be greatly missed in Tests but i am waiting to see him go full throttle in the Upcoming IPL. Good Luck to him for his future endeavors.

  • Girish on February 24, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    Brett Lee is a fantastic cricketer. Though I am an Indian, I have always admired him as a cricketer and as a person. We will really miss him a lot in Aussie tests. Aus are a great side and another loss to them! They may have makeover bowlers, but probably will never get another Lee or McGrath or McD. It looks like end of best fast bowlers in the world. Promising starters like Mithun are there, but not sure if they can give good mileage. ALL THE BEST BRETT! You deserve to play more and wish you good luck in whatever you do! -Girish, Bengaluru. :-)

  • Rajender on February 24, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Its a shame really, lots and lots of players especially pace bowlers are ending their test careers in hope of continuing in other formats. May be this is the time for cricket to evolve where players choose to play which format and for how long. Lee is a modern great of not only Australian cricket but world cricket, he deserves every accolade. I wish him luck and wish that he plays in shorter formats as long as he could.

    As this is related to Aussie Bowling, I like to add that the current mindset of Aus players and fan in thinking that as we have had an unbeaten summer, we have found answers to all bowling worries, it is not the case, players like Harris, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, S Smith, Mckay, Bollinger are all fringe players to me, not tested over long duration and it will be exposed when Aussies Travel as well as faced with oppositions like Lankans, Indians, Saffers...

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    I wish Brett Lee still played Test cricket. He surely should have retired from limited overs cricket and concentrated on test cricket. Anyway, there are only few test matches played nowadays and that could have helped Brett Lee. Limited overs will put him at more trouble with the amount of cricket being played. Nonetheless, I cannot see Test cricket without the 150kmph deliveries. I will miss you, Brett.

  • Andre on February 24, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    Yep unfortunately another good fast bowler hobbles away. Shane Bond left, Zaheer Khan injured, Fidel Edwards injured, Jerome Taylor injured, Mohammed Ameer injured (I think), Flintoff gone as well. When will the madness end. Something is wrong. I'm not sure what it is exactly (flat pitches maybe?) but the game needs to take better care of such good fast bowlers. Brett Lee is one of the all time great ODI bowlers...ever! Let's hope we get at least another 2 yrs .of him n the shortened format.

  • Bujji on February 24, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Too bad! Love his action. The other two pacers (Shoaib and Tait) are slingers. Slingers dont count in my book.

  • Pranav on February 24, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    What a sad day in Test Cricket.. I am Indian and one thing for sure Brett Lee was my most favorite player outside of India. He put effort into every dilivery he bowled, played for his country and the one thing i loved was he played like a gentleman. alwys smiling, great to watch. Also for ppl saying he quit to earn more money, come on be practical, anyone cricket lover can see the effort this man puts for his country and to say he quit for money no he quit cuz his body cant handle a 5 day game anymore. he needs his breaks after a long day of cricket. I will miss seeing you in tests Brett Lee. Best of Luck

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    good test career but a little underachieved one must say especially because of the average he has ..

    anyways .. all the best for the ODI's

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