'He's going to be the wicket-taking option' - Ponting December 26, 2006

Lee asked to stand up and replace McGrath

Cricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting is confident Brett Lee's lack of wickets in the first three Tests will not become a long-term problem © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has called on Brett Lee to regain his devastating form and become Australia's leading fast bowler with the retirement of Glenn McGrath. Ponting said Lee's form in the Ashes series - he took eight wickets at 58.37 in the first three Tests - was a concern but was unlikely to be a long-term issue.

"Brett might have to stand up a bit more as a real strike, wicket-taking option," Ponting told The Australian. "What Brett has done in one-day cricket and Test cricket over the last few years is get early wickets with that brand new ball by swinging it at express pace.

"That's what his game is all about, and he probably hasn't done that as much as he would have liked in the first few games. I've got no doubt, going forward, that he's going to be that wicket-taking option that the team needs."

Ponting said Lee's inability to extract much swing at Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth was unfortunate. "He would be a little disappointed with that," Ponting said. "He's worked really hard in the last two days. He's worked on his run-up a bit because he's felt that he's been a little bit flat in his delivery stride and struggled for a bit of rhythm in the first few Tests.

"I think we saw in Perth, particularly in the second innings, where he started to swing the new ball again, which is really pleasing. That goes to show that some of his technique things are starting to pay off."