January 15, 2014

Brett Lee v Piers Morgan? Not cricket

Is there any thrill in watching one of the world's fastest bowlers bowl illegal deliveries aimed at the body of an annoying talk-show host with zero batting skills?
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Lee turned a noble cricket art into a circus freak show © Getty Images

Being a wildlife guide in Africa, one never gets weary of the thrill of being on foot in the bushveld amongst a breeding herd of elephants, magnificent, humbling, awe-inspiring beasts that they are. We carry high-powered rifles in case of dire emergency, but to be perfectly honest, if these creatures decided that they really wanted to hurt you, they could. Their power and magnificence are a latent threat and you are acutely aware of your own mortality when you're in their presence. But unless provoked or caught unawares, they rarely feel the need to maliciously hurt a lesser being.

It's like when someone of my limited cricketing talent comes across a genuine fast bowler in a serious game of cricket. I've had the privilege of facing Shoaib Akhtar, Malcolm Marshall and Allan Donald at various points in my journeyman career, and whilst they bowled fast and straight, there was no intent to humiliate or hurt. It would have been all too easy for fast bowlers of this calibre, but where is the fun in a battle where one of the combatants is clearly ill-equipped to fight on equal terms? These great fast bowlers had nothing to prove by intentionally injuring a batsman who clearly wasn't good enough to do up their bootlaces.

It was with some revulsion, then, that I read about the macabre, cheap stunt on Channel 9's The Cricket Show in Melbourne recently, involving Brett Lee and the British talk-show host Piers Morgan. On the face of it, the skit might have had something going for it. A bit of banter, Lee running in at full throttle and yorking Morgan with a few thunderbolts, giving the viewers an idea of just how fast these guys bowl and how much skill it takes to combat their speed. Morgan, for his part, would have looked ruefully back on his skittled stumps, made some fatuous comment about the courage of the England players (which he did, anyway) and conceded that facing extreme pace is not a whole lot of fun. If Lee or the producers had any sense of what is good for cricket, this is how it might have been scripted.

Instead, we saw someone with no batting talent whatsoever being deliberately targeted by one of the world's fastest bowlers, seemingly intent on humiliating and physically injuring him, signed indemnity waivers and all. Watching the incident later, I winced at the utter crassness of it. A friend of mine in Perth, a Level 3 cricket coach, confessed that he turned the television off in disgust, appalled that a noble sport to which he has dedicated his life had descended to this level of farce where a hapless media celebrity was at some risk of being genuinely hurt for no good reason. Some would argue that Morgan being hurt is a good enough reason on its own, but despite his abrasive manners, witnessing a lamb to the slaughter has no appeal to me.

It's like a big-game hunter sneaking up on a new-born impala fawn hiding in the long grass, shivering with fear, shooting it with a rifle with telescopic sights from 200 yards and then proudly displaying the trophy on the mantelpiece

It would have been slightly different if the "victim" had been a real cricketer, a retired one even. Maybe a Derek Pringle or a Mike Atherton perhaps, a few years out of the game, facing some heat in the nets and then relating it to the challenges that the England batsmen have faced and failed to master. At least they would have some skills in avoiding being hurt by a genuine fast bowler, rather than what we saw from Morgan, who clearly had no idea of what it takes to play cricket at any level, let alone criticise the best cricketers of his country.

What was most shameful about this sham was the fact that Lee was bowling deliberate no-balls. That act of cowardice was the last straw for me, underscored by the cackling of Shane Warne in the background, himself no stranger to cheap publicity but surely with some sense of a fair fight. Surely Warne, not the most courageous batsman of his era when it came to facing genuine fast bowling himself, must have had some instinct that this was simply not cricket, not by any measure?

One of the world's fastest bowlers trying to injure an overweight talk-show host and not even being man enough to do it with a legal delivery. That's meant to be entertainment? That's meant to showcase cricket to young fans? Parents are meant to sign their kids up for a sport whose luminaries think it's funny to hurt helpless opponents with illegal tactics? The programme is overtly targeted at young viewers, offering basic coaching tips, and the producers thought they would fulfil that charter by highlighting the physical danger inherent in a non-skilled participant being hurt by a fast bowler who was bowling deliberate no-balls? That will give all the novices an incentive to sign up for junior cricket!

Sir Richard Hadlee, the Rolls Royce of fast bowlers, was outspoken in his contempt for this incident. Apart from the very real possibility of premeditated injury (which might even have crossed the line of criminal intent if something had gone wrong), he presumably felt a sense of shame that fast bowling (and fast bowlers) had been reduced to something akin to the boxing tent of a travelling circus where all comers could step into the ring with the bearded lady and throw haymakers, except that the novices had one hand tied behind their backs.

If this was a genuine contest, Morgan would have won it by TKO, because, technically, Lee couldn't play by the rules and hurt his opponent with a legal delivery. Fancy bowling deliberate no-balls at that pace, watching them thud into Morgan's flaccid flesh and deriving some pleasure from that. It's like a big-game hunter sneaking up on a new-born impala fawn hiding in the long grass, shivering with fear, shooting it with a rifle with telescopic sights from 200 yards and then proudly displaying the trophy on the mantelpiece.

I've heard Morgan described as one of the most disliked men in Britain, and some will say it is delicious irony that he finally got his just desserts from another bully who doesn't quite realise when he has overstepped the mark. In an environment where cricket is trying to portray itself as a sport that is character-building, fun, healthy and full of noble traditions, the producers of this garbage television clearly lost sight of the white line that distinguishes humour from hubris. Plenty of so-called tough men and no balls.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and is a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 20, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    It was disgraceful and I have lost respect for Lee. It was supposed to be fun yet it was obvious lee was trying to hit himand bowling flat out.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on January 19, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    I'd agree with this article if Piers Morgan hadn't been so outrageously condescending for the entirety of the lead up of this stunt. If all you watched was the segment itself I can absolutely see where you're coming from, but please understand that Morgan more or less asked for this treatment with his non stop banter day after day leading up to this.

    If Piers Morgan had said "give me a go, I want to see what it's really like because England look pathetic out there", I'm certain Lee would have bowled some length deliveries instead of bouncers and a single yorker. Out and out challenging Johnson saying he could easily handle him, from the comfort of his own lounge room, and then keeping up the bravado when the challenge was offered by Lee on the other hand... You reap what you sow.

  • nayonika on January 18, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    See what happens,when you talk your mouth off on facing fast bowling without even knowing what it is from 22yards. But what Lee did is unpardonable. What if Morgan had been severely injured? Please don't reduce the gentleman's game to this level of street tamasha.

  • AidanFX on January 17, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    It wouldn't have been so bad if Lee had bowled normal quick deliveries to him. After all, Morgan wanted the challenge. However, I, was not at all impressed with Lee deliberately targeting his body. It was made worse by when Lee could sense he was moving away he bowled short deliveries to follow him. It is hardly impressive a quick bowler with great skill can out shine someone from the press. It was silly stuff. Of course it needs to be recongnised Morgan put himself up to it, but Lee should have bowled normal deliveries at the stumps.

  • on January 17, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    why are u writing an article about this more than 3 weeks after it happened?

  • on January 17, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    Hey Michael, I clicked this post intending to rebut your article but even as I started reading it, I could see the point you were making was genuine. Mogran deserved to be taken down a peg or two. Two-three searing yorkers, maybe one bouncer, and a couple of good length balls would be in good sporting spirit. The idea of sport is sportsmanship and having read Brett's autobiography he did not seem to be this kind of guy. This is they typical testosterone driven jock syndrome that gets teenagers into all sort of trouble and both Brett and Piers looked like overgrown teenagers.

  • Chris_P on January 17, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    I read so many posts from arm chair experts who pronounce they could do this or that better than the current selected team & then belittle them in public. This guy, for those who don't know, bragged he played cricket for his town & consistently faced his own bowling machine would up to 150+ kph without any issues & challenged MJ to do the same. When Lee offered, he bad mouthed him further, continuing to pour scorn on cricketers. Sorry, you talk the talk, you best back it up & this guy was a dead-set disgrace. He showed who the coward was & personally, was very happy watching what Lee did to him. Perhaps it might make a few other so called experts think twice before pouring scorn on accomplished athletes. Piers Morgan is a joke. When the English Ashes squad was cheering for Lee it sort of upt into perspective just how hated this guy is over there.

  • CricketChat on January 17, 2014, 1:24 GMT

    After watching the show, I feel the match up between Lee and Morgan is completely unequal. Intentional or not, I felt Lee wasn't even aiming at the stumps with most of the balls going at the batsman's head. Even proper international batsmen would find it difficult to handle, not to mention a non-cricketer. Couldn't understand what the purpose was at all.

  • on January 16, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    Terrible journalism. Morgan is, or was before he became very famous, a decent club cricketer opening the batting for Newick in the East Sussex League. Having batted with him i was surprised to see him back towards the leg side.

  • mahjut on January 16, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    Ironically, I had little knowledge of and no interest in the whole affair - until this article ... having now watched it, I kinda get where the author is coming from,..

  • on January 20, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    It was disgraceful and I have lost respect for Lee. It was supposed to be fun yet it was obvious lee was trying to hit himand bowling flat out.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on January 19, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    I'd agree with this article if Piers Morgan hadn't been so outrageously condescending for the entirety of the lead up of this stunt. If all you watched was the segment itself I can absolutely see where you're coming from, but please understand that Morgan more or less asked for this treatment with his non stop banter day after day leading up to this.

    If Piers Morgan had said "give me a go, I want to see what it's really like because England look pathetic out there", I'm certain Lee would have bowled some length deliveries instead of bouncers and a single yorker. Out and out challenging Johnson saying he could easily handle him, from the comfort of his own lounge room, and then keeping up the bravado when the challenge was offered by Lee on the other hand... You reap what you sow.

  • nayonika on January 18, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    See what happens,when you talk your mouth off on facing fast bowling without even knowing what it is from 22yards. But what Lee did is unpardonable. What if Morgan had been severely injured? Please don't reduce the gentleman's game to this level of street tamasha.

  • AidanFX on January 17, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    It wouldn't have been so bad if Lee had bowled normal quick deliveries to him. After all, Morgan wanted the challenge. However, I, was not at all impressed with Lee deliberately targeting his body. It was made worse by when Lee could sense he was moving away he bowled short deliveries to follow him. It is hardly impressive a quick bowler with great skill can out shine someone from the press. It was silly stuff. Of course it needs to be recongnised Morgan put himself up to it, but Lee should have bowled normal deliveries at the stumps.

  • on January 17, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    why are u writing an article about this more than 3 weeks after it happened?

  • on January 17, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    Hey Michael, I clicked this post intending to rebut your article but even as I started reading it, I could see the point you were making was genuine. Mogran deserved to be taken down a peg or two. Two-three searing yorkers, maybe one bouncer, and a couple of good length balls would be in good sporting spirit. The idea of sport is sportsmanship and having read Brett's autobiography he did not seem to be this kind of guy. This is they typical testosterone driven jock syndrome that gets teenagers into all sort of trouble and both Brett and Piers looked like overgrown teenagers.

  • Chris_P on January 17, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    I read so many posts from arm chair experts who pronounce they could do this or that better than the current selected team & then belittle them in public. This guy, for those who don't know, bragged he played cricket for his town & consistently faced his own bowling machine would up to 150+ kph without any issues & challenged MJ to do the same. When Lee offered, he bad mouthed him further, continuing to pour scorn on cricketers. Sorry, you talk the talk, you best back it up & this guy was a dead-set disgrace. He showed who the coward was & personally, was very happy watching what Lee did to him. Perhaps it might make a few other so called experts think twice before pouring scorn on accomplished athletes. Piers Morgan is a joke. When the English Ashes squad was cheering for Lee it sort of upt into perspective just how hated this guy is over there.

  • CricketChat on January 17, 2014, 1:24 GMT

    After watching the show, I feel the match up between Lee and Morgan is completely unequal. Intentional or not, I felt Lee wasn't even aiming at the stumps with most of the balls going at the batsman's head. Even proper international batsmen would find it difficult to handle, not to mention a non-cricketer. Couldn't understand what the purpose was at all.

  • on January 16, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    Terrible journalism. Morgan is, or was before he became very famous, a decent club cricketer opening the batting for Newick in the East Sussex League. Having batted with him i was surprised to see him back towards the leg side.

  • mahjut on January 16, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    Ironically, I had little knowledge of and no interest in the whole affair - until this article ... having now watched it, I kinda get where the author is coming from,..

  • I-Like-Cricket on January 16, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    This article is a joke. Morgan signed up for this. Personally I think it's great that Binga did what he did. Piers ran his mouth like crazy and completely disrespected the English cricketers in a very public manner, which I wouldn't mind if he were even an ex-first-class cricketer. Plus there's the bonus that I don't ever see him retweeted anymore.

  • on January 16, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    Piers Morgan ran his mouth about how easy it should be for the English batsmen to apply themselves and face up to the Aussie fast bowling. Brett Lee called him out on it. Morgan is often a man not given to considered opinion, and has spent much of his career making controversial statements and taking controversial standpoints in the pursuit of ratings. It was good to see him get a taste of his own medicine for a change. Good on ya Binga :)

  • on January 16, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    Completely agree. Tawdry nonsense. Morgan's a twerp but Lee's a decent guy; shouldn't have descended to Morgan's level.

  • on January 16, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    It was never intended as a fair match. Morgan had had the nerve to criticise the England batsmen despite clearly knowing little or nothing about cricket, Lee suggested he should find out for himself what it's like to face world class fast bowling, and we all know the rest.

    No-one would have suggested that Atherton should take part in a similar stunt, precisely because he's a former Test player. He spent more than a decade facing Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, Waqar, McGrath etc., so when he comments on a batsman's ability to play fast bowling, he knows exactly what he's talking about. Now perhaps Morgan will have a slightly better idea, and keep his mouth shut next time - no that he's built a reputation for ever doing that.

  • DaisonGarvasis on January 16, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    I couldnt agree more with Michael. Brett Lee even displayed the trophy in twitter with a caption line which went something like "this is what happens when you mess with me". I had watched the twitter build up for the event and the event itself. I thought Morgan showed courage and that alone was his point in the whole episode. He tweeted "even I can show more courage than the English batsmen" and he played out an over from Lee. Lee could have bowled at the stumps and got him bowled 6 times but instead he was going at his body. Anyway, the next day in Big Bash Leauge, Lee got thrashed all over the park.

  • on January 16, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    It was a challenge to one of the fastest bowlers in the world, by a talk show host with no cricketing background. So Michael, we're aware it wasn't cricket. It was a gimmick, and nobody was pretending otherwise. "Macabre" is certainly not the right word for it. Its pretty similar to one of those daredevil bike stunts, isn't it? As somebody has pointed out in a comment below, its no use trying to thrust your sense of morality on others. Both people involved knew what they were getting into. And also, everything single action by every single person is not meant to pass a test where its impact on a 10-year old is analysed. In other words, parents are free to switch off the television whenever they want.

  • ReverseSweepRhino on January 16, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    Ah, what would cricket journalism do without Michael Jeh's supreme authority on sportsmanly conduct, even when the issue being discussed is a contest between two individuals, not representing officially any country/club when they are doing it.

    Morgan challenged Lee because he wanted to get some attention. He got some attention a and possibly a few bruises. This has nothing to do with cricket, other than being organized by the media as a sideshow while the Ashes were going on. Obviously, it wasn't cricket. It was a spectacle organized for the very purpose it served.

  • flickspin on January 16, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    people at cricket training said piers morgan deserved it because he run his mouth and talked it up.

    i believe morgan was joking around with some harmless banter.

    morgan charged lee and backed down the legside all 3 stumps were exposed every ball, brett lee was bowling bounces a metre down leg side like bodyline hitting him every ball, to me it was like monty burns challenging mike tyson for a fight.

    i too reckon it was madness.

    morgan got more credit facing 5 bounces, than what he would have got being bowled 6 times.

  • Captain_Tuk_Tuk on January 16, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Article is written by an English writer so no one should take it seriously except English fans. I am a neutral fan but I think that show was fun and the caption of Lee's photo in this article and a few other quotes I don't have to agree with them :)

  • TATTUs on January 16, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Who would not want to face Brett Lee in front of 1000s of people AND TV coverage live, gien a chance? I know I would love for that to happen. Thats why you play ciricket. Thats why you follow it. Yes, watching top tests teams battle it out is a great thing. But I would prefer facing a top international bowler [preferably fast] any day. Just think of it mate and you will understand. Yes, Hadlee might have seen that as an assault. In someways it was. But Morgan loved it, People loved it. [ I dont know about Lee]. Certainly I would love it given a chance [hoping I am alive at the end of the over, I think probably I can be :)].

  • on January 16, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    Chill out Michael. We will never know whether this particular incident was a gimmick orchestrated by channel 9 purely for entertainment. Also piers was beating the bush about English courage and had issued a challenge to Lee and the fast bowler responded in his typical style. Piers does have some credentials as a club cricketer and Lee was bowling at 80% of his normal pace which would be around 120-130 KMPH. Lee has always been one of the most well behaved Aussie cricketers and always been a true sport so one incident does not make him a bully.

  • Biggus on January 16, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    One can assume Michael is a big supporter of the nanny state, where we don't let people find their limits but define them for that person. If we had to live in a world designed by Mr Jeh we'd be completely smothered by political correctness, hemmed in by the cotton wool of intrusive legislation, watched at every turn should we think to turn away from his all knowing, all wise plan for us. Sorry, but it's all a bit 'Brave New World' for me Michael. That's enough for now, I'm off to do something you most likely wouldn't approve of......

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on January 16, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    'Who wants to see Morgan vs Lee?' Well check the 100s of thousands of youtube views of the 'stunt' . Will pretty much answer it!

  • nickvegas on January 16, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    The ball used was an indoor cricket ball. Sorry to ruin your story.

  • Clavers on January 15, 2014, 23:15 GMT

    Chill out Michael.

    Remember when Hugh Jackman took on Shane Warne in the nets for an over? He used his feet very well and smashed him. Obviously an express bowler is a different kettle of fish, but how could we know whether Morgan couldn't similarly handle Lee unless we put it to the test?

    It's not as though anyone forced Morgan into the situation -- he put his hand up. He was fully padded up and free to hoist the white flag any time he wanted.

    As for the way Lee bowled, what would have been the point of the exercise if Binga had eased up on the pace or only bowled half-volleys? The whole point was for a journalist to see for himself what it was like to face a genuine fast bowler and whether the criticisms of the courage of the England players in the face of Johnson and Co were fair.

    I now have renewed respect especially for tailenders like Panesar who bravely got in behind Johnson's thunderbolts despite lacking the skills and reflexes of a Warner or a Pietersen.

  • jayray999 on January 15, 2014, 23:12 GMT

    Michael. I like your articles, especially your choice of subjects but of late, their uber moral tone is beginning to grate. If you persist you will find yourself tongue-tied and speechless on the very altar (of political correctness) at which you have chosen to worship. For example, you berate Lee for his antics but as at least one other reader pointed out, in doing so you insulted circuses. And later, (in your comment) you insulted the suffering of baited bears. And corpulence and the corpulent; you said "overweight" and "flaccid" but essentially you called Piers Morgan fat. And human beings, by comparing Piers Morgan's plight to that of a chained bear. And free choice by... Where does this madness end? You didn't like the spectacle of Lee bowling at Piers Morgan. We get it. Now could you lighten up so we can move on?

  • ygkd on January 15, 2014, 23:09 GMT

    Just as we will not hear a player say that he scored a hundred because his bat was a tree trunk, the pitch was a road, the boundaries were too close, the bowlers delivered pies and the fielders dropped him six times, we should not expect that a fast bowler in a televised piece of theatre will explain that he overstepped every time and that this perhaps shouldn't have happened, as indeed could be said for the whole regrettable incident. Theatre is fake after all. Thus, when Smith wrote of cricket in the context of American wrestling, he could certainly have been writing of this incident, except that someone was actually getting hurt.

  • on January 15, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Indeed, it was the most unedifying thing. I'm disappointing that Lee took up the challenge and that channel 9 wasted the time to make an event out of it.

    No arsenal football fan in England takes his ramblings (although passionate seriously) so why should the cricket people. If Piers Morgan had his way, Arsenal Wenger would have been sacked...

  • ygkd on January 15, 2014, 22:57 GMT

    Smith's article is indeed welcome. However, it is not just a matter of the tail (the media) wagging the dog (cricket). With all the pathways programs etc now bringing on the new generation, how can we expect young players to reasonably speak their mind? The potential journey to elite comes as a ten-year job interview where one slip into an honest teenage appraisal of one's relative treatment in such a culture could cast one's chances unreasonably aside. I'm sure the Lee/Morgan incident has achieved nothing of any cultural value, but then when a young player's saying nothing of any value is so obvious a part of the pathway to success as currently defined, one cannot expect that the growing trivialisation of the game within the media will cease. They are but two sides of the same brass razoo - the coin of performance and the performance of coin.

  • jb633 on January 15, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    cont ... In comparison I have been reading a lot of the Aussie papers and they act more like cheerleaders. They have written articles attempting to galvanise the nation and have made every effort to try and get behind their players. The focus has not been so much on how bad England have been but rather how brilliant their own players have been. There has of course been some focus on England but I think if it were the other way round our media would have quickly lost interest in praising their players and would be relishing picking holes in the opposition, which in a roundabout way demeans the victory slightly. I think a lot of the problems in English sport stem from our media. I remember listening to Gary Neville talk about a world cup campaign once and he said the question in the dressing room was who were the press going to scapegoat this time, rather than who were they going to make a hero.

  • jb633 on January 15, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    @Michael Jeh, I have read Ed's articles and found it very interesting. What has interested me watching these two ashes series back to back is the reacting of both sets of media to winning a series comfortably. I know a lot of Aussies who read cricinfo will think differently as they have been glamorising England for a while, but when we win our papers are concerned more with how poor the other side's are rather than praising our own players. Our media seems to like a focus on one player at a time, regardless of whether the team is winning, and almost create stories of how they are under pressure from their place etc. Our media, papers not cricinfo, took relatively little space to praise the winning ashes campaign but rather picked apart Australia's failings and would rather demonstrate how bad Aus were.

  • alesana85 on January 15, 2014, 22:15 GMT

    Finally, an opinion on cricinfo about this disgraceful incident. Cricket should ultimately about how people conduct themselves, and it always should be with honor & respect for fellow human beings, regardless of the result of a match, on & off the field.

  • on January 15, 2014, 21:56 GMT

    100% agree. Every ball was at his body - I stopped watching.

  • Noughtt40 on January 15, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    Most arm chair critics don't really have to face the music. They just sit back and write without ever considering the mindset of a cricketer. I still remember the days when the WI were a force how English commentators used to very often call a decent bouncer bowled to a frontline batsman as being brutish etc etc. but when an English fast bowler used to do the same three would quite eloquently state what a great delivery it was. I think Morgan got what he deserved. Simply put if you can't face the music get lost.

  • Matt.au on January 15, 2014, 19:18 GMT

    I too had some revulsion Micheal, though mine came from your writing.

  • anilkp on January 15, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Mr. Jeh, why did you write an article on the Lee-Morgan incident? Who/what is Morgan to right-thinking cricket fans? Does this incident matter at all? Why is Cricinfo publishing this article? Why are we--avid cricket fans--supposed to read this inconsequential, irrelevant piece?

  • on January 15, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Well, I'd say that Morgan actually won this round. He said he'd hit a six off Lee. That's six runs off one ball. But if Lee was overstepping, then Morgan actually got 6 runs off NO balls. Well done Lee, you just lost the bet.

  • on January 15, 2014, 18:11 GMT

    Well, almost everybody in England will have loved it.

    Not because it shows an inept batsman under attack from a fast bowler, but because it's Piers Morgan being hit with a hard object.

  • the_blue_android on January 15, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Micheal, I've no comment or opinion on this incident but can you please stop comparing these acts to Circus shows? If you've ever been to a circus, every move is planned meticulously after years of training and comparing some random cheap acts to circus is making light of a very tough profession. Also, this comparison shows Circus acts in poor light and you make it sound menial which clearly it is not.

  • on January 15, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    We heard an awful lot beforehand from Piers Morgan about his prowess and experience in league cricket (over a thirty year period) and his outscoring of Brian Lara in the annual pro-am match that he arranges in his home village. Also, about the lack of ticker displayed by the England team in the face of Mitchell Johnson et al. He, Morgan, was going to restore the honour of England by showing that an overweight and superannuated club cricketer could face up to Brett Lee. He couldn't. This was a good outcome.

    On the other hand, it would have been more stylish if Lee had simply bowled him a series of balls that were aimed at the stumps, rather than following him towards the leg-side netting, and delivering from 20 yards. It seems unlikely Morgan would have got a bat on anything straight and quick. It is the bullying aspect of what was actually to be seen that is most regrettable.

  • on January 15, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    sorry Mike, have to disagree with you here...Morgan ridiculed batsmen facing quick bowling & implied it was lack of courage and he could do a better job1 Lee bowled short to show what it takes to face quicks and then bowled the yorker to finish the set..morgan was a grown man, fully knowing wat he was getting into..trying to make a name out of an "adventure"

  • B.C.G on January 15, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Lee overstepped by a lot.Bowling bodyline well after the 22 yard line.Parents will see this & simply tell their kids to chose another sport.Lee will then be proud at having contributed to this loss.

  • Harlequin. on January 15, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    Are you kidding me?!

    As people have already said, Piers issued a challenge to Lee, Lee responded, both consenting adults so 'bear-baiting' is a terrible analogy. I could understand the dislike of this if it were a regular occurrence, but this was a one-off thing, which I think put into perspective just how terrifying it is to face quick bowling like that. Watching it on TV especially, the pro's make it look easy facing 90mph bowling, but for us mere mortals at club level or below, even 80mph is pretty spicy! Watching Piers hopping about with no chance whatsoever did turn cricket into a freak show, but only because it makes you realise that International cricketers must be freaks to be able to hook those balls for six.

    And the no-ball thing, are you kidding me?!

    I thought it was pretty common knowledge that Aussies always bowl no-balls in the nets, every Aussie pro I have seen come across to England has always overstepped by a good 2 feet.

  • on January 15, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    I agree completely. I used to have a lot of respect for Brett Lee.

  • on January 15, 2014, 15:02 GMT

    Piers Morgan challenged Lee like a man, Lee accepted the challenge like a man. I don't see any reason for Lee to have held back. Imagine lee going easy on him and Piers in turn hitting him well. A man of Piers' personality would go around blabbering how he clobbered one of the world's greatest bowlers and that would've been highly humiliating for Lee. I think he's fully justified.

  • py0alb on January 15, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Agree with you wholeheartedly Michael. As much as I dislike the squirming, smirking Piers Morgan (who doesn't?), after watching this clip I dislike Brett Lee even more. What he chose to do was absolutely shameful. That no-one had the guts to step in and stop it after the first delivery is also an indictment on all present.

  • tmday23 on January 15, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    To correct you, Piers Morgan was a relatively decent club cricketer. Sadly this is his one redeeming quality. He orchestrated the whole situation by running his mouth and got his just deserts. The fact that he isn't worth the effort that Brett Lee expended on those bouncers is irrelevant. The only pity is that the situation won't humble him in the slightest, he'll still be the same arrogant swine that he was before. Good on you Brett Lee. You were chosen to put the bully in his place, his place being on his backside, and you did so beautifully.

  • Clan_McLachlan on January 15, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Sorry Michael, can't get behind you on this.

    Lee was childish to bowl no balls, but it's true to his character, especially with his mate Warne egging him on. Your point about it being a poor lesson for aspiring young cricketers is a good one that I will concede.

    But equally, Morgan is a no-talent loser who has built a lucrative career on being ignorantly opinionated. Our society affords such people far more influence and exposure than they warrant. What about the child who aspires to be the next Piers Morgan? I consider it a fine lesson to such a child that if you mouth off like an idiot and call out someone that's way out of your league you're going to get hurt.

    Morgan was the one doing the bear baiting, and the bear got off the leash.

  • Michaeljeh on January 15, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    I just watched Brett Lee bowling quite splendidly at the end of a Big Bash Game and he seemed capable of cutting the front line without overstepping. Not a single no-ball tonight but not a single legal delivery in the nets. My point remains - it's hardly a fair fight. If Morgan's point had something to do with courage, he failed to make that point me thinks. A friend just emailed me with these thoughts. The connection he draws to Ed Smith's excellent work is worth pondering... "I have just had the pleasure of reading your piece on channel 9s gratuitous stunt involving Piers Morgan and Brett Lee. I have never witnessed bear baiting but I imagine that Mr Lee's attack bore an uncanny resemblance to it. Coincidentally (or perhaps by the insight of editorial decision) Ed Smith also had a wonderful article published on the same site today on the growing intrusion of the media into professional sport - it strikes me that the two things cannot be seen in isolation."

  • u_guys_are_history on January 15, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    What was infuriating about the whole episode was Morgan's "Englishmen with courage still out there" comment. This entire exercise was obviously a cheap publicity stunt by Morgan and such loose comments (even if they can be construed as 'humor') on sportsmen who give their body and soul into playing this great game made me cringe. I wish he had got hit in the balls.

  • lyoung on January 15, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    The only thing to be said in defense of Brett Lee was that he was not targeting Morgan's head, but his body. Despite Morgan's body padding, he confessed afterwards that he suffered a fractured rib. Clearly Morgan could not protect himself, and he could be considered lucky that Lee did not bowl him an accidental beamer, which Lee had a reputation for in his playing days.

  • Tova on January 15, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    Get over it... This is so not newsworthy

  • Bubba2008 on January 15, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    I'm sorry Michael, but Piers is a grown boy; he issued the challenge to Lee, and goaded a fast bowler with a well-known penchant for aggression into bowling an over at him. He understood full-well what reaction he coaxed from Bing and committed to it regardless of the risks. Let's not also forget that, excepting an instance of extreme poor fortune, there was little chance of real injury. By the looks of it, Piers was wearing several chestguards, and would no doubt have resorted to the finest pads, gloves, and helmet on offer. So really, anything more than a bruise was highly unlikely, or Piers could consider himself marked by God.

    As for the no-ball issue, while Lee should take more care, I do not believe he would overstep to gain an added advantage over Morgan. If you take a look at the other videos of Lee bowling to celebrities (where you will notice the ball carefully pitched up), he commits the same error irrespective of the batsman.

  • GRivado on January 15, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    It seems to me that the point of the exercise was for Morgan to prove that there were "Englishmen with courage still out there" as he put it in his self-promoting fashion. There's little courage in getting skittled six balls in a row...

  • on January 15, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Glad someone said it, who thing was a farce

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  • on January 15, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    Glad someone said it, who thing was a farce

  • GRivado on January 15, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    It seems to me that the point of the exercise was for Morgan to prove that there were "Englishmen with courage still out there" as he put it in his self-promoting fashion. There's little courage in getting skittled six balls in a row...

  • Bubba2008 on January 15, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    I'm sorry Michael, but Piers is a grown boy; he issued the challenge to Lee, and goaded a fast bowler with a well-known penchant for aggression into bowling an over at him. He understood full-well what reaction he coaxed from Bing and committed to it regardless of the risks. Let's not also forget that, excepting an instance of extreme poor fortune, there was little chance of real injury. By the looks of it, Piers was wearing several chestguards, and would no doubt have resorted to the finest pads, gloves, and helmet on offer. So really, anything more than a bruise was highly unlikely, or Piers could consider himself marked by God.

    As for the no-ball issue, while Lee should take more care, I do not believe he would overstep to gain an added advantage over Morgan. If you take a look at the other videos of Lee bowling to celebrities (where you will notice the ball carefully pitched up), he commits the same error irrespective of the batsman.

  • Tova on January 15, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    Get over it... This is so not newsworthy

  • lyoung on January 15, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    The only thing to be said in defense of Brett Lee was that he was not targeting Morgan's head, but his body. Despite Morgan's body padding, he confessed afterwards that he suffered a fractured rib. Clearly Morgan could not protect himself, and he could be considered lucky that Lee did not bowl him an accidental beamer, which Lee had a reputation for in his playing days.

  • u_guys_are_history on January 15, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    What was infuriating about the whole episode was Morgan's "Englishmen with courage still out there" comment. This entire exercise was obviously a cheap publicity stunt by Morgan and such loose comments (even if they can be construed as 'humor') on sportsmen who give their body and soul into playing this great game made me cringe. I wish he had got hit in the balls.

  • Michaeljeh on January 15, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    I just watched Brett Lee bowling quite splendidly at the end of a Big Bash Game and he seemed capable of cutting the front line without overstepping. Not a single no-ball tonight but not a single legal delivery in the nets. My point remains - it's hardly a fair fight. If Morgan's point had something to do with courage, he failed to make that point me thinks. A friend just emailed me with these thoughts. The connection he draws to Ed Smith's excellent work is worth pondering... "I have just had the pleasure of reading your piece on channel 9s gratuitous stunt involving Piers Morgan and Brett Lee. I have never witnessed bear baiting but I imagine that Mr Lee's attack bore an uncanny resemblance to it. Coincidentally (or perhaps by the insight of editorial decision) Ed Smith also had a wonderful article published on the same site today on the growing intrusion of the media into professional sport - it strikes me that the two things cannot be seen in isolation."

  • Clan_McLachlan on January 15, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Sorry Michael, can't get behind you on this.

    Lee was childish to bowl no balls, but it's true to his character, especially with his mate Warne egging him on. Your point about it being a poor lesson for aspiring young cricketers is a good one that I will concede.

    But equally, Morgan is a no-talent loser who has built a lucrative career on being ignorantly opinionated. Our society affords such people far more influence and exposure than they warrant. What about the child who aspires to be the next Piers Morgan? I consider it a fine lesson to such a child that if you mouth off like an idiot and call out someone that's way out of your league you're going to get hurt.

    Morgan was the one doing the bear baiting, and the bear got off the leash.

  • tmday23 on January 15, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    To correct you, Piers Morgan was a relatively decent club cricketer. Sadly this is his one redeeming quality. He orchestrated the whole situation by running his mouth and got his just deserts. The fact that he isn't worth the effort that Brett Lee expended on those bouncers is irrelevant. The only pity is that the situation won't humble him in the slightest, he'll still be the same arrogant swine that he was before. Good on you Brett Lee. You were chosen to put the bully in his place, his place being on his backside, and you did so beautifully.

  • py0alb on January 15, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Agree with you wholeheartedly Michael. As much as I dislike the squirming, smirking Piers Morgan (who doesn't?), after watching this clip I dislike Brett Lee even more. What he chose to do was absolutely shameful. That no-one had the guts to step in and stop it after the first delivery is also an indictment on all present.