Lee opts for line and length
Brett Lee's plans to become a more patient bowler instead of a compulsive firebreather have been approved by Ricky Ponting. Since returning to Tests in July, Lee's intimidation with the ball has been impressive but his failure to pick up regular wickets has forced him to remodel.
Under the new method yorkers and bouncers will become shock tactics rather than staples and Ponting said he was impressed with Lee's line-and-length decision. "He thinks he'll make himself a better bowler by being more patient and putting batsmen under pressure for more time," Ponting said. "I tend to agree because he'll be able to get us wickets and bowl in different ways when required. I'll still be able to ask him to run in and bowl fast for a few overs and get him to bowl short stuff."
During the Ashes Lee regularly upset England's batsmen, but he finished the series with 20 wickets at 41.10 and his economy rate was also a major concern. During the Ashes it was an expensive 4.29 runs an over before ballooning to 5.33 during the Super Test and prompting a tactical change.
"It is time to become a lot more of a patient bowler," Lee told The Courier-Mail. "In the last two net sessions here I have not tried to bowl a yorker or a bumper. I have basically just tried to hit the top of off stump. It is about drilling it into your brain."
Ponting, who spoke to Lee about his intentions on Tuesday, was not concerned the approach would result in a loss of aggression. "His greatest strength is to intimidate the opposition," he said. "If he can couple that with some good line and length that will make him a better bowler and he will take more wickets."
Lee's last five-wicket Test haul came at the Gabba against New Zealand in 2001-02 and he struggled with foot injuries before being shut out of the side last summer by McGrath, Gillespie and Kasprowicz. "He's not had the best ride over the past couple of seasons and at times when he's been bowling exceptionally he hasn't been in the team," Ponting said. "Now he's back bowling very well and it's a matter of time before he gets rewards."