July 11, 2000

Brett Lee bowling action under ICC review

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee is under investigation by the ICC's illegal deliveries committee following an adverse report about his bowling action. This was revealed by Australian Cricket Board chief executive Mal Speed at a press conference in Sydney this afternoon.

Lee, who is regarded as one of the two or three fastest bowlers in international cricket today, was reported during Australia's three-Test series against New Zealand in March by umpire S.Venkataraghavan in the First Test, and by umpire A.Jayaprakash in the Third. In both instances the umpires submitted reports to match referee Mike Denness, who referred them on to the ICC.

The ACB was only recently notified by the ICC yesterday that Lee's action was under review, more than three months after the last match in which he was reported. Speed, speaking at today's press conference, was critical of the ICC's delay in informing the ACB of the situation. Lee was informed by Speed yesterday after his return from overseas.

At today's press conference, both Speed and Australian captain Steve Waugh said that they believed there were no problems with Lee's action and this would be found to be the case following the ICC committee's review. Speed said that Lee would play for Australia in the coming one-day series against South Africa next month.

If the ICC's ten-person illegal deliveries committee does find that there are problems with Lee's bowling action then their findings will be referred to the ACB for whatever remedial action is considered necessary. The ICC committee's powers to suspend players from international cricket, which had been applied several times over the past few years, were revoked by the ICC Executive Board in February after the then-ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya overturned the committee's decision to suspend Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in December.

According to a press release issued by the ACB following the press conference, Brett Lee's bowling action will be assessed independently by former Australian fast bowling great Dennis Lillee and by medical experts.

Speed said that "we are confident there is no problem, but if there is one it will be fixed". Lee said he was "shocked" when told of the ICC review.

Twenty-three year-old Brett Lee made his Test debut against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day 1999. In five Tests, two against India and three against New Zealand, he has taken 31 wickets at an average of 16.06, claiming five wickets in an innings twice. In 17 one-day international appearances he has claimed 27 wickets at an average of 21.06.