Australia in England 2012 June 26, 2012

'Blood, sweat and tears' for quicks - Lee

ESPNcricinfo staff
41

At 35 and having retired from Test cricket, Brett Lee stands on the verge of becoming Australia's leading wicket taker in one-day Internationals.

He insists, though, that he isn't motivated by the prospect of breaking Glenn McGrath's record of 381 wickets during the upcoming series against England - after closing the gap with two wickets against Ireland in Belfast - and in the latest edition of Alison's Tea Break he explains how he is now acting as a mentor to the younger bowlers coming through.

Speaking to host Alison Mitchell, Lee touches on the depth of fast bowling in Australia cricket at the moment, saying he is excited by what James Pattinson and Pat Cummins have to offer with a Test series against South Africa coming up later this year, followed by back-to-back Ashes.

He warns, though, of the "blood, sweat and tears" that it takes to be a fast bowler, particularly with the amount of cricket that is played now, and says that bowlers in particular must be prepared "to do what's best for the team" should management decide to rest and rotate players.

As far as Lee's own future is concerned, he has set no time frame as to when he might step away from the international scene. "As long as I'm doing my job and being an asset to the Australian cricket team and helping the young guys come through, and still enjoying my cricket, then I'll keep playing for a few more games and we'll see what happens after that. Whether that's three months or twelve months or eighteen months, who knows."

Watch the interview here.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 28, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Is that "blood, sweat and tears" in the Aussie teams just, or generally speaking? If that's what's it's like for fast bowlers, then think about what it must be like for their spinners! Chopped and changed faster than Nic Pothas's underwear during games. Poor Hauritz had shown great potential, but had a run of poor form and got thrown aside for the likes of Doherty and Beer... Unbelievable!

  • landl47 on June 27, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @exiledtyke: you make a good point, one that I've made myself, but there are other factors to consider. The first is the type of cricket played. Trueman played 67 tests and no shorter-format international games. He bowled 15.178 balls at international level. In contrast, Broad hasn't yet bowled 25.000 balls, but he has already bowled 15,085 balls in international games- 60% versus Frad's 15%. County cricket was a long grind and players didn't put in the same effort as is needed for international games. Secondly, fielding; Fred was a decent close fielder (mainly leg slip), but he didn't consider it his job to run after the ball. There aren't many players left from the pre-one day era, but the honest ones will tell you that the players now are ten times better in the field than in their day. It's a different, more high-pressure game now. If Trueman started his career today, he'd do well to bowl 50,000 balls.

  • MrPontingToYou on June 27, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    hope he sticks around for a long time.

  • ena.sakib on June 27, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    HEY LEE>>>>>> Lods of love to u......... Just wanna say be happy always..... May Allah bless U!! <3

  • AKS286 on June 27, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    steyn is better than lee,bond,akhtar, harmision, malinga, sami, in the context of fitness level. other took early retirement from test cricket and suffers lots of injury which is really painful. people like you all when you bowl fast but once injury hit you all people forget you all and you all lost your rhythm, pace. please no injury to players.

  • on June 27, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    He is one of the fines fast bowler in the world keep up the good work mate!

    Love from india!

  • on June 27, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Evergreen Lee....Aussies cant produce such bowler like him.

  • on June 27, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Mr. Dariuscorny ,you are cent persent wrong about akthar ,how can one forget that sight of fast and furious bowling spell of shoib when sachin on its own walks of without umpiee rasing his finger , this was all fear which one could feel ,who would have watching this matchon tv , i am not pakistani saying this ,

  • on June 27, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    He is one of the Best bowler to bowl consistently at that pace compared to others in the same period.

  • funkybluesman on June 27, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    One incredible thing about Lee is the fact that he's 35 and is still just as fit as he's ever been and still bowling 95 mph with good control and movement. Sure he's doing it only in the short forms of the game now, but that's seriously impressive!

    And add to that he's just such a nice guy who's always got a smile on his face!

    Definitely one of the good guys of cricket.

    Lee's test stats are distorted a bit by having a couple of times he was rushed back too early from injuries and had to carry the attack when not 100%. Unfortunately with Lee, he is the sort of bowler that really struggles for any sort of impact when less than 100%. But you could never question his heart, he gave everything he had playing for Australia!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 28, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Is that "blood, sweat and tears" in the Aussie teams just, or generally speaking? If that's what's it's like for fast bowlers, then think about what it must be like for their spinners! Chopped and changed faster than Nic Pothas's underwear during games. Poor Hauritz had shown great potential, but had a run of poor form and got thrown aside for the likes of Doherty and Beer... Unbelievable!

  • landl47 on June 27, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @exiledtyke: you make a good point, one that I've made myself, but there are other factors to consider. The first is the type of cricket played. Trueman played 67 tests and no shorter-format international games. He bowled 15.178 balls at international level. In contrast, Broad hasn't yet bowled 25.000 balls, but he has already bowled 15,085 balls in international games- 60% versus Frad's 15%. County cricket was a long grind and players didn't put in the same effort as is needed for international games. Secondly, fielding; Fred was a decent close fielder (mainly leg slip), but he didn't consider it his job to run after the ball. There aren't many players left from the pre-one day era, but the honest ones will tell you that the players now are ten times better in the field than in their day. It's a different, more high-pressure game now. If Trueman started his career today, he'd do well to bowl 50,000 balls.

  • MrPontingToYou on June 27, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    hope he sticks around for a long time.

  • ena.sakib on June 27, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    HEY LEE>>>>>> Lods of love to u......... Just wanna say be happy always..... May Allah bless U!! <3

  • AKS286 on June 27, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    steyn is better than lee,bond,akhtar, harmision, malinga, sami, in the context of fitness level. other took early retirement from test cricket and suffers lots of injury which is really painful. people like you all when you bowl fast but once injury hit you all people forget you all and you all lost your rhythm, pace. please no injury to players.

  • on June 27, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    He is one of the fines fast bowler in the world keep up the good work mate!

    Love from india!

  • on June 27, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Evergreen Lee....Aussies cant produce such bowler like him.

  • on June 27, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Mr. Dariuscorny ,you are cent persent wrong about akthar ,how can one forget that sight of fast and furious bowling spell of shoib when sachin on its own walks of without umpiee rasing his finger , this was all fear which one could feel ,who would have watching this matchon tv , i am not pakistani saying this ,

  • on June 27, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    He is one of the Best bowler to bowl consistently at that pace compared to others in the same period.

  • funkybluesman on June 27, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    One incredible thing about Lee is the fact that he's 35 and is still just as fit as he's ever been and still bowling 95 mph with good control and movement. Sure he's doing it only in the short forms of the game now, but that's seriously impressive!

    And add to that he's just such a nice guy who's always got a smile on his face!

    Definitely one of the good guys of cricket.

    Lee's test stats are distorted a bit by having a couple of times he was rushed back too early from injuries and had to carry the attack when not 100%. Unfortunately with Lee, he is the sort of bowler that really struggles for any sort of impact when less than 100%. But you could never question his heart, he gave everything he had playing for Australia!

  • funkybluesman on June 27, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    I actually believe the big strain on modern fast bowlers, when they talk about playing so much, is probably playing so many games in different places - ie Travelling.

    They travel so much more now and are often getting off a plane one evening, and hitting the cricket field the next day, then on a plane that evening to another spot.

    That's very different to just playing cricket day in day out mostly in a local setting with lots of games at the same home ground and most of the away grounds still only a few hours bus ride away, with the odd test match thrown in between.

    The Aussie cricket team played the last final of the one day series in Australia in the summer just gone, it was a day/night match that finished quite late, and they were on a plane at 6:30am the next morning for 35 hours of flying to get to the West Indies.

    Then they get there, do a training session the first day there and play a tour game the next day.

  • RandyOZ on June 27, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    With Pattinson and Cummins in the wings, there is just no end to the pain for opposing teams!

  • on June 26, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    brett lee is a tremendous fast bowler. I have nothing but respect for this guy. He has bowled with a lot of pain through his career. Even in the series against india this february, he bowled with a broken toe. This shows the spirit and character of this man. A true legend. A great ambassador for cricket. Always luv watching him bowl fast.

  • Nadeem1976 on June 26, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I hope Lee keeps on playing because he is last of fast bowlers from 90's era. Lee is great great fast bowler in short format of the game and too fast to face. Keep it up Lee.

  • nlambda on June 26, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    You lost Munaf Patel at "sweat" :-)

  • dariuscorny on June 26, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    @getsetgopk yes he's(Akhtar) in the minds of Indians as they still savour the moment of Sachin thrashing Akhtar all over the Centurion WC 2003,that was the day which started the decline of Akhtar

  • vamshi59 on June 26, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    He is one of the Best bowler to bowl consistently at that pace compared to others in the same period.

  • Tigg on June 26, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    @Clamchowder.

    Actually brett Lee has bowled 39414 deliveries in competitive cricket (Test matches are a form of first class cricket, ODIs are List A and as such are included with those stats). Fred Trueman bowled 100687 in his competitive career.

    @SirFrancis It's not about whether or not he bowled lots in 'dodgy county cricket' it's the fact that he bowled lots. If you can bowl 100k balls in a 24 year career then your bowling muscles are going to be very well developed and you will be less likely to break down. The lack of overs under the belt is what causes injury.

    If you only play 10 tests a season plus a few ODIs and a few T20s you're hardly bowlign at all. A full county season is 4-day, 40-over games and 20-over games.

  • getsetgopk on June 26, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully: Yeah HIM the great AKHTAR, people call him great for a reason, even in retirement its HIM on your mind all the time LOL, by the way there is still a NIL in the fast bowlers column from India!

  • Hammond on June 26, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    I totally agree with you @exiledtyke. Statham also bowled over 100000 deliveries in first class cricket in an 18 year career. I think the rash of injuries to fast bowlers in modern cricket is due to the fact that the bowlers just don't play as much cricket as they used to. Gym work is absolutely no substitute to bowling in match conditions. Likewise the control of people like a Statham or a McKenzie (76888 in a 16 year career) was phenomenal due to the constant match practice they got. @Min2_cric actually read up on your cricket history before criticising, and @Sir_Francis he was talking about work load. If the batsman these bowlers bowled at were that bad, then the averages would tell that story. They don't, and they weren't. Anyway Lee wasn't anywhere near the class of the past bowlers mentioned.

  • SasiGladi on June 26, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    Yes he really sheds blood, cant forget in WC QF 2011 he got hit in his eyebrow shed blood still came back to bowl gave his 100%...One of the great bowler to be remembered all the time, I love his rthymic bowling action flows like uninterupted fluid to the crease only few other top class fast bowlers has such action like Waqar...

  • pom_don on June 26, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    The stand out Aussie for me, he bowls exceptionally well & his manner is first class a credit to the game.

  • Min2_cric on June 26, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    well said sir-francis... exile...u hav no knowledge of cricket..

  • Rising_Edge1234 on June 26, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Time to go, Lee. You've done your job and done it well but don't wait till they kick you out. Go now.

  • clamchowder on June 26, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    @exiledtyke not sure where you have taken those numbers from but if you combine Test, ODI and T20I Brett Lee has bowled 28127 balls. This added to his first class career (Sheffield shield, domestic one day and county cricket) and also his domestic t20 and IPL cricket and List A matches, his total then goes up to 67541. While this is still under your stat for Mr Truman (who also was slightly higher than stated with 114897 balls) they ave approx 3554 and 4787 balls respectively per year. I think you'd be much better served in comparing just their test numbers.

    Lee has played 76 tests and bowled 16531 balls (ave just over 217.5 balls per test match), as opposed to Trueman with 67 tests and 15178 balls (ave just over 226.5 balls per test). From my point of view the difference is negligible here, and although numbers still favor Trueman you have to take into account the fact that Lee was used in short spells as an impact bowler for Australia so may also not be the best person to compare.

  • Muhtasim13 on June 26, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    @exiledtyke, Brett Lee actually bowled almost 40000 balls and you would have to consider the fact that he had spent a significant amount of time in the sidelines due to injuries. Nevertheless, i guess the actual complain about the current workload is not only regarding the number of matches played, but also the amount of travelling that a player has to do. During Trueman's time, players didn't really have to travel as much as players have to do today.

  • whatawicket on June 26, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    this guy is a hero one of the best genuinely fast bowlers of the modern game. to come back from some of the injuries hes had shows his courage. these days can still get over the 90 mph and as well a great guy, in fact he could have been a pom hes so good.

  • Min2_cric on June 26, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    @ exile...whatever u r saying is just out of context...u cant compare modern day cricketers only using no. of bowls as a standard...compare them by no. of matches played, no. of days cricket played in a year...etc. etc...so just dont talk like nincompooooopss..

  • Sir_Francis on June 26, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    I am kind of fed up of the repeated mantra that old time bowlers worked harder than modern bowlers. Does exiletyke truly believe that thousands of deliveries in dodgy county cricket, on unprepared pitches, against barely First Class players equates to bowling constantly against international players?

    The amount of deliveries bowled is only part of the equation.

    And for an australian cricketer from the Waugh/Ponting era Lee was a good bloke. Not something you could say about most of his team mates.

  • NP_NY on June 26, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Binga has proved time and again that if you stay fit you can be a lethal fast bowler even in your mid thirties. There is a lesson here for all the fast bowlers (especially my fellow Indians) who break down so easily in their late 20s, cut down their speed to medium-fast, etc..

  • 5wombats on June 26, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Great Bowler, the last of a line in Australian cricket history. Tremendous heart. Great competitor. "blood, sweat and tears" - yep - he's given all of those. A true legend. Welcome back to England Brett lee.

  • NanoTechnology on June 26, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @ exiledtyke

    I wonder if the different forms of the game have an effect on fast bowlers? Someone like Trueman only played first class cricket (excluding a handful of one day matches), which perhaps give a better chance for a fast bowler's body to keep up. Spells are generally longer, allowing a bowler to find their rhythm at a pace that suits them, not by the demands of defending a target, or that they only have 10/4 overs per game. In by brief experience of bowling fast(ish) it is when you force your rhythm, when you try to extract maximum pace before you body is ready that can cause injuries. Its more than just warming up too I believe.

  • landl47 on June 26, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    Watching Lee bowl in the last year, he actually looks a better bowler now than he did, say, 7 years ago. He understands what he is doing, he's accurate, he moves the new ball just enough and he still bowls over 90mph. Unfortunately, he can't keep it up over a 5-day game any longer, but if Cummins and Pattinson watch, listen and learn from him they'll be better bowlers. Exciting times for Australian quick bowling and for all spectators, whoever they support- there's nothing like seeing genuine pace bowling for getting the adrenaline pumping!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on June 26, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    He is far better than so called 'fast' bowlers who can't even complete his quota. yeah, I mean the 'great' Akthar. He was good at his beginning only.

  • Hammond on June 26, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Lee was only ever a decent odi bowler. Sprayed it too much in the longer form of the game and got hammered quite often (esp by England). Here in Australia we thought with his pace and his out swinger he was going to be the next DK Lillee but just like the current generation of Australian cricketers he just turned out to be a damp squib. Decent lower order batsman, bog average test bowler.

  • IndianInnerEdge on June 26, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Always was a pleasure watching Brett bowl, That fab freeflowing action, athletic runup, gr8 follow through. He is also a terrific athlete, taken some awesome catches, handy batsman also. The main thing I feel sets him apart from the other quickies, that he was not big on the 'Nasty' factor. Whilst on the pitch he might offer a bit of 'advice' to the batsman, you always knew that a smile was not far away, probably the nicest guy who was a quickie. Am sure as a mentor he will do a good job and probably a nice bloke for the youngsters to emulate on the field....U go Binga...! from a big fan of urs!!

  • satish619chandar on June 26, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Lee.. What a man.. He should be the inspiration for any fast bowler or in fact, any cricketer.. He always and ALWAYS gives his 100% even when the game is completely off.. He did have some bad games but he was usually a GO-TO man for any captain.. I really wish he plays as long as he can and his body can and not forced to go off..

  • ravi_hari on June 26, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    Undoubtedly one of the best bowlers of the modern cricket era. The best ally to McGrath and a very pleasing personality on the field. In fact one can enjoy watching Lee and Steyn bowl as they have a smile on their face while bowling and the batsmen can hardly afford to have one after facing their express deliveries. Lee took over 2 wkts per test innings and 1.8 wkts. per ODI. A fantastic show of consistancy. Of the three contemperories - Lee, Bond and Shoaib, Lee is the only one to play this long and has been very effective in all 3 formats. But for T20 and IPL Lee would have played more tests and could have taken many more wkts. Unfortunate he could not make an impact in any Ashes series in England. However, the way he bowled even on dead wkts like India is very heartening. Aussies needed him the most in the last couple of years, but injuries kept him out of contention and now limited to only ODIs and T20. Can become a good coach if he makes it his career. Like to see more Brett!

  • exiledtyke on June 26, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    I am kind of fed up of the repeated mantra that there is too much cricket being played the days

    In a 19 year career, Brett Lee has bowled 26478 balls. That's just under 1400 a year, or around 230 overs per year.

    In a 24 year career, Fred Trueman bowled 100607 balls. That is just under 4200 per year or 700 overs. More than 3 times the workload over a longer period.

    Now I am not disputing that modern players play more games under higher pressure and that expectations are much, much higher in the field. But on sheer weight of balls bowled the modern players get it much easier.

  • MasudRUETeee091040 on June 26, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Lee is a great Fast bowler.He should play till 2015 world cup.He should try to maintain his fitness.

  • on June 26, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Without a contract, the selectors feel his days are numbered. But he still has plenty to offer at 35. Perhaps retire at 36 or 37. Maybe after he reaches 400 wickets. He could go on to take 500 wickets if he plays until 38.

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  • on June 26, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Without a contract, the selectors feel his days are numbered. But he still has plenty to offer at 35. Perhaps retire at 36 or 37. Maybe after he reaches 400 wickets. He could go on to take 500 wickets if he plays until 38.

  • MasudRUETeee091040 on June 26, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Lee is a great Fast bowler.He should play till 2015 world cup.He should try to maintain his fitness.

  • exiledtyke on June 26, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    I am kind of fed up of the repeated mantra that there is too much cricket being played the days

    In a 19 year career, Brett Lee has bowled 26478 balls. That's just under 1400 a year, or around 230 overs per year.

    In a 24 year career, Fred Trueman bowled 100607 balls. That is just under 4200 per year or 700 overs. More than 3 times the workload over a longer period.

    Now I am not disputing that modern players play more games under higher pressure and that expectations are much, much higher in the field. But on sheer weight of balls bowled the modern players get it much easier.

  • ravi_hari on June 26, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    Undoubtedly one of the best bowlers of the modern cricket era. The best ally to McGrath and a very pleasing personality on the field. In fact one can enjoy watching Lee and Steyn bowl as they have a smile on their face while bowling and the batsmen can hardly afford to have one after facing their express deliveries. Lee took over 2 wkts per test innings and 1.8 wkts. per ODI. A fantastic show of consistancy. Of the three contemperories - Lee, Bond and Shoaib, Lee is the only one to play this long and has been very effective in all 3 formats. But for T20 and IPL Lee would have played more tests and could have taken many more wkts. Unfortunate he could not make an impact in any Ashes series in England. However, the way he bowled even on dead wkts like India is very heartening. Aussies needed him the most in the last couple of years, but injuries kept him out of contention and now limited to only ODIs and T20. Can become a good coach if he makes it his career. Like to see more Brett!

  • satish619chandar on June 26, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Lee.. What a man.. He should be the inspiration for any fast bowler or in fact, any cricketer.. He always and ALWAYS gives his 100% even when the game is completely off.. He did have some bad games but he was usually a GO-TO man for any captain.. I really wish he plays as long as he can and his body can and not forced to go off..

  • IndianInnerEdge on June 26, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Always was a pleasure watching Brett bowl, That fab freeflowing action, athletic runup, gr8 follow through. He is also a terrific athlete, taken some awesome catches, handy batsman also. The main thing I feel sets him apart from the other quickies, that he was not big on the 'Nasty' factor. Whilst on the pitch he might offer a bit of 'advice' to the batsman, you always knew that a smile was not far away, probably the nicest guy who was a quickie. Am sure as a mentor he will do a good job and probably a nice bloke for the youngsters to emulate on the field....U go Binga...! from a big fan of urs!!

  • Hammond on June 26, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Lee was only ever a decent odi bowler. Sprayed it too much in the longer form of the game and got hammered quite often (esp by England). Here in Australia we thought with his pace and his out swinger he was going to be the next DK Lillee but just like the current generation of Australian cricketers he just turned out to be a damp squib. Decent lower order batsman, bog average test bowler.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on June 26, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    He is far better than so called 'fast' bowlers who can't even complete his quota. yeah, I mean the 'great' Akthar. He was good at his beginning only.

  • landl47 on June 26, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    Watching Lee bowl in the last year, he actually looks a better bowler now than he did, say, 7 years ago. He understands what he is doing, he's accurate, he moves the new ball just enough and he still bowls over 90mph. Unfortunately, he can't keep it up over a 5-day game any longer, but if Cummins and Pattinson watch, listen and learn from him they'll be better bowlers. Exciting times for Australian quick bowling and for all spectators, whoever they support- there's nothing like seeing genuine pace bowling for getting the adrenaline pumping!

  • NanoTechnology on June 26, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @ exiledtyke

    I wonder if the different forms of the game have an effect on fast bowlers? Someone like Trueman only played first class cricket (excluding a handful of one day matches), which perhaps give a better chance for a fast bowler's body to keep up. Spells are generally longer, allowing a bowler to find their rhythm at a pace that suits them, not by the demands of defending a target, or that they only have 10/4 overs per game. In by brief experience of bowling fast(ish) it is when you force your rhythm, when you try to extract maximum pace before you body is ready that can cause injuries. Its more than just warming up too I believe.