The Ashes 2009

Lee should not be on Ashes tour - Lawson

Cricinfo staff

June 14, 2009

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Brett Lee and his team-mates stretch during a training session, Nottingham, May 29, 2009
Long stretch: Brett Lee is fortunate to be in England, according to Geoff Lawson © Getty Images

Geoff Lawson, the former Australia fast bowler, can't believe Brett Lee made the Ashes squad and thinks the decision might "come back to bite them". Lawson, who has had a long-term involvement with New South Wales as a player and coach, would have preferred it if Doug Bollinger had been called to face England.

"You've left out an outstanding left-arm fast bowler [in Bollinger] who's in form, for a right-hand guy coming back from injury and you don't know how he's bowling,'' Lawson told the Sunday Telegraph. "It doesn't add up and it might come back to bite them."

Lawson said Lee would have been dropped if he hadn't had ankle and foot surgery in the new year. "He hasn't been in form for 18 months, going on two years, so it's an interesting selection to put him in when he's got no form and no match practice," Lawson said.

Lee has returned to the international line-up through Twenty20s and has four wickets for 117 runs at an economy rate of 9.75 in three games in the UAE and England. Last week he was taken for 27 in an over by Chris Gayle during a four-over spell of 1 for 56.

"You can't play Twenty20 cricket and expect that it's a testing ground for Test cricket, it's not going to happen,'' Lawson said. "He's underdone. He's only been bowling four-over cricket, and not very successfully, since he's come back from his injury. I think he's physically fit, but you've got to be match fit. He's not swinging the ball [and] international batsmen seem to be playing him a lot easier."

Damien Fleming expects Lee to battle with Stuart Clark and Ben Hilfenhaus for the third fast-bowling spot behind Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle. "Johnson's spells last summer were as hostile as I've seen from an Australian bowler since I don't know when," Fleming said. "He was fast and furious. Siddle's all over you with his competitiveness.

"At his best, [Lee] probably gets a game but it's all about form here. I don't think his 300 wickets will have that much weight when it comes to selecting the team, it'll be about current form.'' The paper said Lee was one of six Australian players who have been guaranteed match payments throughout their 2009-10 contracts.

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