New South Wales v Western Australia, Ryobi Cup, Sydney October 17, 2010

Brett Lee stakes claim for international return

ESPNcricinfo staff

The fast bowler Brett Lee has declared himself ready for international cricket and has started his bid for a place in Australia's limited-overs squad to take on Sri Lanka later this month. Lee made a successful comeback to senior cricket on Sunday, when he collected 2 for 37 for New South Wales against Western Australia in the Ryobi Cup.

It was his first outing for his state team in almost a year, while he has not played for Australia in any format since last October. After missing the 2009 Ashes with a side strain, Lee has suffered injuries to his elbow, thumb and arm, but he has made himself available for Australia's Twenty20 against Sri Lanka on October 31 and the three ODIs that follow.

"I put my hand up, simple as that," Lee said after his economical 11-over spell for the Blues. "I'm fit, I'm playing. If they feel that I'm ready, pick me. Pick me, I'm keen to play. I wouldn't have played [the Ryobi Cup] if I didn't feel I was ready to play at this level.

"When you've had a bit of a break for a while, it's refreshing to get out there and play. I'm just really trying to enjoy my cricket this year. I've trained really hard; I'm preparing the best I possibly can. Hopefully, the rest takes care of itself. It doesn't matter who I'm playing for, I'll always go out there and give it my best shot."

Although the World Cup early next year is the major goal for Lee, he has not set any timeline on ending his limited-overs career, although he retired from first-class cricket in February. His two wickets on Sunday came from the slower ball, while his slower bouncer also caused a run-out, but he was also happy with the speed he was able to generate.

"On the slow wicket today, I felt like I hit my pace pretty well, which surprised me," Lee said. "I didn't think I would be at that level as yet, but the last two weeks I've worked really hard in the nets as far as getting that pace back to where I want it to be."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bryn on October 19, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    pick him. he just proved hes fit again with good figures against world class batsmen like voges, pomerbach, ronchi

  • Chris on October 19, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    or do indians only really like lee so much because he sang in some cheesy indian pop song???

  • Priyank on October 19, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    Look @ Australia's pace-battery: Nannes, Tait, Siddle, Johnson, Lee, Bollinger, Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris. Wow ! Did I miss any ?

  • Priyank on October 19, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Good news, I'm dying to see Lee bowling in international Cricket ! But who will he replace in playing 11 ? Bollinger ? No way. Johnson ? Nops. May be, Hilfenhaus.

  • Marcio on October 19, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    @ bookie7600, I don't hate any of the cricketers you refer to, and not everyone is sitting around seething with anger at sportspeople. So what does that tell you? Hate says more about the hater than the hated. Maybe it's time you "people" practiced a little more of good old fashioned buddhist compassion and non-judgment. You might feel better for it and start appreciating the many good things about the game, even those evil, immoral Australians.

  • Marcio on October 19, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    @ sweetspot. The truth is that Indians have always exaggerated the myth of bad sportsmanship in Australians as a means to save face and gain a sense of moral superiority because they were getting thrashed most of the time. Brett Lee is far from being the only good sportsman in the Australian team - there have been numerous, and just in the current bunch Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, North, and even the fast bowlers like Hilfenhaus and Bollinger are very gentlemanly compared to many fast bowlers going round. Ricky Ponting has displayed many sporting gestures in recent years too, although many Indians seem obsessed with hating him. It might pay to reflect for a moment upon his permitting Laxman a runner in both innings in the first test (despite carrying a chronic injury into the game), a gesture that won India the game and the series. But even that will not be enough to shift the haters. More Indians than Aust's have received penalties for misbehaviour. Check out the stats.

  • Dhanush on October 18, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    @ Nick Franklin- It is because of the arrogance that most of the Aussie players exude that ppl hate them- Nobody doubts their capabilities, but dislike them cuz they are simply ARROGANT- On the other side we love players like Brett Lee, Sachin, Flintoff, Dravid, Vettori....etc... because not only do they have immense pride in playing for their own country but they are GENUINE sportsmen who play hard on the field and are lovely Role models for others. I m an Indian and a lot of us also hate Bhajji, Sreesanth along with Ponting , Haddin , Johnson, Siddle.

  • Senthil on October 18, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    @Nick Franklin - you bet Mate! We like Brett Lee because he exemplifies the spirit of cricket. He plays hard, but appreciates other people doing well, even against him. Lee has some other interests outside of cricket too, and doesn't look like he will die if Australia lose. The very least others in the team can do is learn to smile as much as him. Oh, now, we don't want the fake smiles either. Lee is for real, and is an endearing bloke. Please Australia, produce more decent chaps like him.

  • Senthil on October 18, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    Lee's a fantastic character, one of the few true sportsmen in the game. He's a very very good bowler of course, but the sad part about his generation is that they are all hittable. They cannot sustain their hostile penetrative edges for very long. Let's hope Lee's body holds up. Even a nearly fit Lee is more fun than many other angry looking bowlers who're nowhere near as good as him.

  • Subba on October 18, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    It will be good for Auystralia to have him back. But good for just a couple of matches before he goes back injured again. he should realise his time was up long back and shift to IPL like Shaun tait.

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