Australian news February 23, 2010

Lee retires from Tests but aims for 2011 World Cup

Cricinfo staff
26

Brett Lee, Australia's fourth-highest wicket-taker, has retired from Test cricket after admitting his body could no longer handle the demands of the five-day game. Lee has decided to focus on ODIs and Twenty20s as he aims to rejoin Australia's team and collect a second World Cup trophy in 2011.

"I'm not 21, I'm 33," Lee told Seven. "Trying to bowl at 150kph for five days is very hard on the body."

Lee, who took 310 wickets in 76 Tests, said his most special achievement was playing for more than a decade in Australia's top team. His final game in a baggy green was in Melbourne in 2008 and he limped off towards the end of the match with a fractured left foot, which required an operation and another long lay-off.

An untimely side strain kept him out of the first three 2009 Ashes Tests and he was angry to miss the final two matches when the series was at stake. The selectors doubted he could last five days and were quickly proved right. Lee was approaching peak form again during the Champions Trophy, but was forced home from the one-day tour of India with an elbow problem.

When the injury required surgery he took time out to decide whether he wanted to go through another extended recovery. Cutting his workload became the only option and the decision also keeps him closer to his young son Preston.

During his time at the top Lee suffered career-threatening elbow and foot injuries, but was able to return to the Test team each time and regain his high speeds. While he spent much of his career behind Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie as a high-voltage weapon, he also proved he could lead the attack after McGrath retired.

In series against Sri Lanka, India and West Indies in 2007 and 2008 he captured 58 wickets in nine matches but was unable to keep up the pace. He suffered with a serious stomach bug in India later that year, which robbed him of weight and impact in the Tests, and struggled in Australia's home campaign. He picked up the tenth and final five-wicket haul of his career against New Zealand in Adelaide but took only one wicket in two matches against South Africa before hobbling away, ultimately forever.

Lee will follow in the footsteps of Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram in becoming a limited-overs specialist. He has an IPL contract with Kings XI Punjab worth US$900,000 a season and strong business and music interests in India. There is also another World Cup trophy to hope for.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vikramaditya100 on February 24, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Brett Lee was a great fast bowler and we should not judge him by his stats (in test matches, in ODIs they were fantastic). The fast bowlers of today have average stats compared to the greats of the previous generation(except maybe Dale Steyn but then he concedes around 3.5 runs per over). The best bowlers of today (Ntini, Zaheer, Lee) have a bowling average in the late 20s or early 30s. So let us remember the impact he made as a bowler rather than his stats.

  • on February 24, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    I CANT 4GET LEE'S LAST WARM-UP MATCH B4 ASHES wen he got injured... i mean he alwayz afta every ball put 150% efoort in, even in da warmup match... his last match wich forced him 2 quit was sensation, 15 wickets i think in 2 innings...

  • mrgupta on February 24, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Cant believe Brett Lee has retired. Outside India he was my favorite player. I would add that apart from being a great fast bowler he is also a Gentleman and a real sportsman. I remember during the last visit by India to Aus during an intense battle with Sachin he accidentally sent down a beamer and for all of us it was clear that it was unintentional. Why? because it was Brett lee, a true gentleman and that was also acknowledged by Sachin after the match that He too knew that the beamer was an accident only because Brett Lee said so. We were happy to take his word and admire his Sportsman spirit. He will be greatly missed in Tests but i am waiting to see him go full throttle in the Upcoming IPL. Good Luck to him for his future endeavors.

  • girikula on February 24, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    Brett Lee is a fantastic cricketer. Though I am an Indian, I have always admired him as a cricketer and as a person. We will really miss him a lot in Aussie tests. Aus are a great side and another loss to them! They may have makeover bowlers, but probably will never get another Lee or McGrath or McD. It looks like end of best fast bowlers in the world. Promising starters like Mithun are there, but not sure if they can give good mileage. ALL THE BEST BRETT! You deserve to play more and wish you good luck in whatever you do! -Girish, Bengaluru. :-)

  • RajjoGemini on February 24, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Its a shame really, lots and lots of players especially pace bowlers are ending their test careers in hope of continuing in other formats. May be this is the time for cricket to evolve where players choose to play which format and for how long. Lee is a modern great of not only Australian cricket but world cricket, he deserves every accolade. I wish him luck and wish that he plays in shorter formats as long as he could.

    As this is related to Aussie Bowling, I like to add that the current mindset of Aus players and fan in thinking that as we have had an unbeaten summer, we have found answers to all bowling worries, it is not the case, players like Harris, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, S Smith, Mckay, Bollinger are all fringe players to me, not tested over long duration and it will be exposed when Aussies Travel as well as faced with oppositions like Lankans, Indians, Saffers...

  • on February 24, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    I wish Brett Lee still played Test cricket. He surely should have retired from limited overs cricket and concentrated on test cricket. Anyway, there are only few test matches played nowadays and that could have helped Brett Lee. Limited overs will put him at more trouble with the amount of cricket being played. Nonetheless, I cannot see Test cricket without the 150kmph deliveries. I will miss you, Brett.

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 24, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    Yep unfortunately another good fast bowler hobbles away. Shane Bond left, Zaheer Khan injured, Fidel Edwards injured, Jerome Taylor injured, Mohammed Ameer injured (I think), Flintoff gone as well. When will the madness end. Something is wrong. I'm not sure what it is exactly (flat pitches maybe?) but the game needs to take better care of such good fast bowlers. Brett Lee is one of the all time great ODI bowlers...ever! Let's hope we get at least another 2 yrs .of him n the shortened format.

  • TeluguAbbai on February 24, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Too bad! Love his action. The other two pacers (Shoaib and Tait) are slingers. Slingers dont count in my book.

  • Firebird914 on February 24, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    What a sad day in Test Cricket.. I am Indian and one thing for sure Brett Lee was my most favorite player outside of India. He put effort into every dilivery he bowled, played for his country and the one thing i loved was he played like a gentleman. alwys smiling, great to watch. Also for ppl saying he quit to earn more money, come on be practical, anyone cricket lover can see the effort this man puts for his country and to say he quit for money no he quit cuz his body cant handle a 5 day game anymore. he needs his breaks after a long day of cricket. I will miss seeing you in tests Brett Lee. Best of Luck

  • on February 24, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    good test career but a little underachieved one must say especially because of the average he has ..

    anyways .. all the best for the ODI's

  • Vikramaditya100 on February 24, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Brett Lee was a great fast bowler and we should not judge him by his stats (in test matches, in ODIs they were fantastic). The fast bowlers of today have average stats compared to the greats of the previous generation(except maybe Dale Steyn but then he concedes around 3.5 runs per over). The best bowlers of today (Ntini, Zaheer, Lee) have a bowling average in the late 20s or early 30s. So let us remember the impact he made as a bowler rather than his stats.

  • on February 24, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    I CANT 4GET LEE'S LAST WARM-UP MATCH B4 ASHES wen he got injured... i mean he alwayz afta every ball put 150% efoort in, even in da warmup match... his last match wich forced him 2 quit was sensation, 15 wickets i think in 2 innings...

  • mrgupta on February 24, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Cant believe Brett Lee has retired. Outside India he was my favorite player. I would add that apart from being a great fast bowler he is also a Gentleman and a real sportsman. I remember during the last visit by India to Aus during an intense battle with Sachin he accidentally sent down a beamer and for all of us it was clear that it was unintentional. Why? because it was Brett lee, a true gentleman and that was also acknowledged by Sachin after the match that He too knew that the beamer was an accident only because Brett Lee said so. We were happy to take his word and admire his Sportsman spirit. He will be greatly missed in Tests but i am waiting to see him go full throttle in the Upcoming IPL. Good Luck to him for his future endeavors.

  • girikula on February 24, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    Brett Lee is a fantastic cricketer. Though I am an Indian, I have always admired him as a cricketer and as a person. We will really miss him a lot in Aussie tests. Aus are a great side and another loss to them! They may have makeover bowlers, but probably will never get another Lee or McGrath or McD. It looks like end of best fast bowlers in the world. Promising starters like Mithun are there, but not sure if they can give good mileage. ALL THE BEST BRETT! You deserve to play more and wish you good luck in whatever you do! -Girish, Bengaluru. :-)

  • RajjoGemini on February 24, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Its a shame really, lots and lots of players especially pace bowlers are ending their test careers in hope of continuing in other formats. May be this is the time for cricket to evolve where players choose to play which format and for how long. Lee is a modern great of not only Australian cricket but world cricket, he deserves every accolade. I wish him luck and wish that he plays in shorter formats as long as he could.

    As this is related to Aussie Bowling, I like to add that the current mindset of Aus players and fan in thinking that as we have had an unbeaten summer, we have found answers to all bowling worries, it is not the case, players like Harris, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, S Smith, Mckay, Bollinger are all fringe players to me, not tested over long duration and it will be exposed when Aussies Travel as well as faced with oppositions like Lankans, Indians, Saffers...

  • on February 24, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    I wish Brett Lee still played Test cricket. He surely should have retired from limited overs cricket and concentrated on test cricket. Anyway, there are only few test matches played nowadays and that could have helped Brett Lee. Limited overs will put him at more trouble with the amount of cricket being played. Nonetheless, I cannot see Test cricket without the 150kmph deliveries. I will miss you, Brett.

  • NEUTRAL_FAN on February 24, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    Yep unfortunately another good fast bowler hobbles away. Shane Bond left, Zaheer Khan injured, Fidel Edwards injured, Jerome Taylor injured, Mohammed Ameer injured (I think), Flintoff gone as well. When will the madness end. Something is wrong. I'm not sure what it is exactly (flat pitches maybe?) but the game needs to take better care of such good fast bowlers. Brett Lee is one of the all time great ODI bowlers...ever! Let's hope we get at least another 2 yrs .of him n the shortened format.

  • TeluguAbbai on February 24, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    Too bad! Love his action. The other two pacers (Shoaib and Tait) are slingers. Slingers dont count in my book.

  • Firebird914 on February 24, 2010, 2:55 GMT

    What a sad day in Test Cricket.. I am Indian and one thing for sure Brett Lee was my most favorite player outside of India. He put effort into every dilivery he bowled, played for his country and the one thing i loved was he played like a gentleman. alwys smiling, great to watch. Also for ppl saying he quit to earn more money, come on be practical, anyone cricket lover can see the effort this man puts for his country and to say he quit for money no he quit cuz his body cant handle a 5 day game anymore. he needs his breaks after a long day of cricket. I will miss seeing you in tests Brett Lee. Best of Luck

  • on February 24, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    good test career but a little underachieved one must say especially because of the average he has ..

    anyways .. all the best for the ODI's

  • nayf82 on February 24, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    Love Brett Lee. It was great watching him bowl in full flight. Was very disappointed not to see him during the 2009 Ashes. I watched him bowl beautifully (and quick) against the Lions before this series. Interestingly during this game he had been busy chatting to fans on the boundary fence when Ponting through annoyance called upon him to bowl immediately, Lee WITHOUT ANY WARM up bowled fantastically, at pace, and was swinging the ball in all directions with devastating effect. The result however was that Lee would be out of the Ashes series with a side strain. I personally believe that if Lee had only been called up to the Oval Test at least then Australia would have retained the urn. The fact that Australia only needed a was the beginning of their downfall. Ricky Ponting, great batsman, poor captain.

  • Manush on February 24, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    The governing body should take full responsibility for this untimely retirement of another class player falling in line with Flintoff, Bond,Vaughn, Oram etc.'s decision to quit.

    For survival of Test Cricket ,it is paramount that a judicious mixture of all formats involving all nations is worked out to save the game and ensure class players longevity in the game. Lee reminds , Lilee when it comes to fierce pace supporting the ever accurate McGrath. Australia will miss him dearly .

  • raghavaussiecombine on February 23, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    He always had a smile on his face, whether he was at the receiving end or he was composing some chin-music. He is one of the great fast bowlers...

  • Aussies4Ashes on February 23, 2010, 23:38 GMT

    Absoloute Legend and very exciting to watch. Shame he cant play in the test team but gould have a lot to offer oneday team and T20 teams

  • hamNZ on February 23, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    I find it funny that after an announcement like this everyone starts beating the "Death of Test Cricket" drum. Look at the facts, Brett Lee even if he could get his 33 year old body fit again he may struggle to make the side. The reality is he has had serious debilitating injuries, if T20 didn't exist he probably would have still quit Tests to continue ODI's. As for Oram, he couldn't go a Test series without withdrawing at some point with an injury, and this is with The Black Caps only getting a handful of tests a season.

    I would be more concerned about the young guys coming through than the old guys falling over, problem exists with the David Warners and Kieran Pollards of this world that can experience instant success in T20 that could possibly shun them away from developing into the well rounded cricketers that could dominate all forms of the game.

  • shaurya on February 23, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    Lee is one the most commited cricketers i have seen. A great fighter..Still cant forget the ashes test in 2005 tht evn though austrlia lost be just two runs..Bt the no.of blows that lee took on his elbow and mid riiff and still carried on for his country was truely commendable. .I like him the most amongst the Aussie cricketers. Infact the only one liked by most amongst them. Wish him ggod health and hope to see in full steam during the IPL and his international career..

  • on February 23, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Brett lee...has no doubt given the very best performances in the past decade..!!!

  • on February 23, 2010, 19:36 GMT

    Are some people under the impression that Lee (and Flintoff) willingly gave up Test cricket? These men are purebred champions - given the choice, they'd play test cricket for the rest of their lives. This isn't about money, or fame, or glory, this is about wanting to represent their country any way they can. Limited-overs cricket allows them to do that without killing themselves.

  • on February 23, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    A sad day, a fierce fast bowler, decent batsman on his day (remember Ashes '05) and a true sportsman who played the game as it should be played, with a smile on his face and fire in his belly. As an England fan, it seems strange saying it, but you'll be missed. Best of luck Brett.

  • Gulraze_Malik on February 23, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    It is a huge blow to the fast bowling attack of Australia. Lee is a genuine fast bowler and one of the best after Glenn Mcgrath in modern cricket. He has the ability to swing the bowl at above 150 miles/hour and bowl excellent yorkers. His position in the Australian cant be fulfilled in the near future. I think the excess of international cricket being played these days is harmful for the career of players. ICC must think in this sense so that the career of players is not shortened. Well done Lee for your contribution to the art of fast bowling.

    From Gulraze Malik

  • kenkemraj on February 23, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    The problem I have with this is that it does no good for Test cricket, too many cricketers are retiring these days to concentrate on one day and T20 cricket. Why play 5 days when you can earn far more playing a 50 over game or moreso playing in the IPL. The invention of T20 and that of the IPL aka Lalit Modi will lead more and more players to retire from test cricket. Others may not agree but unfortunately the exploits of Lalit Modi is dictating the future of cricket.

  • on February 23, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    v salute you brett, u hav always been a great role model for all youngsters....

  • Babu2288 on February 23, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Very sad to hear this. An excellent fast bowler with an equally brilliant attitude. I will miss him in Test cricket. All the best to him for ODIs and T20s. Enjoy your game, Brett.

  • on February 23, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    Unfortunate though can't say I am surprised. Given age and the number of recent injuries it seems like a sensible move. Maybe the recent success of the Aussie pace attack in tests also had some impact on the decision as Lee may have struggled for selection in the first eleven anyway. Wishing him the best for his future in the shortened version of the game along with others like Oram and Flintoff who have made similar decisions partly for money and partly to continue in a game that they love. All the best Brett Lee:-)

  • on February 23, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    ohh, u gotta feel sorry 4 da biggest fiter who actually njoyed playin tests more dans ghorter versions but unfortunately his body didnt let him... best of luck b.lee nd btw, dis is cumin 4roman indian

  • kingkarthik on February 23, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    Lalit Modi will feel vidicated at having his aims squarely at destorying test cricket. he will use this as further ammo to fuel the reason as to why IPL is the "best" thing to happen to world cricket. Test cricket is being killed by the very same players who seek to protect.

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  • kingkarthik on February 23, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    Lalit Modi will feel vidicated at having his aims squarely at destorying test cricket. he will use this as further ammo to fuel the reason as to why IPL is the "best" thing to happen to world cricket. Test cricket is being killed by the very same players who seek to protect.

  • on February 23, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    ohh, u gotta feel sorry 4 da biggest fiter who actually njoyed playin tests more dans ghorter versions but unfortunately his body didnt let him... best of luck b.lee nd btw, dis is cumin 4roman indian

  • on February 23, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    Unfortunate though can't say I am surprised. Given age and the number of recent injuries it seems like a sensible move. Maybe the recent success of the Aussie pace attack in tests also had some impact on the decision as Lee may have struggled for selection in the first eleven anyway. Wishing him the best for his future in the shortened version of the game along with others like Oram and Flintoff who have made similar decisions partly for money and partly to continue in a game that they love. All the best Brett Lee:-)

  • Babu2288 on February 23, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Very sad to hear this. An excellent fast bowler with an equally brilliant attitude. I will miss him in Test cricket. All the best to him for ODIs and T20s. Enjoy your game, Brett.

  • on February 23, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    v salute you brett, u hav always been a great role model for all youngsters....

  • kenkemraj on February 23, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    The problem I have with this is that it does no good for Test cricket, too many cricketers are retiring these days to concentrate on one day and T20 cricket. Why play 5 days when you can earn far more playing a 50 over game or moreso playing in the IPL. The invention of T20 and that of the IPL aka Lalit Modi will lead more and more players to retire from test cricket. Others may not agree but unfortunately the exploits of Lalit Modi is dictating the future of cricket.

  • Gulraze_Malik on February 23, 2010, 15:54 GMT

    It is a huge blow to the fast bowling attack of Australia. Lee is a genuine fast bowler and one of the best after Glenn Mcgrath in modern cricket. He has the ability to swing the bowl at above 150 miles/hour and bowl excellent yorkers. His position in the Australian cant be fulfilled in the near future. I think the excess of international cricket being played these days is harmful for the career of players. ICC must think in this sense so that the career of players is not shortened. Well done Lee for your contribution to the art of fast bowling.

    From Gulraze Malik

  • on February 23, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    A sad day, a fierce fast bowler, decent batsman on his day (remember Ashes '05) and a true sportsman who played the game as it should be played, with a smile on his face and fire in his belly. As an England fan, it seems strange saying it, but you'll be missed. Best of luck Brett.

  • on February 23, 2010, 19:36 GMT

    Are some people under the impression that Lee (and Flintoff) willingly gave up Test cricket? These men are purebred champions - given the choice, they'd play test cricket for the rest of their lives. This isn't about money, or fame, or glory, this is about wanting to represent their country any way they can. Limited-overs cricket allows them to do that without killing themselves.

  • on February 23, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Brett lee...has no doubt given the very best performances in the past decade..!!!