Cooley praises 'champion' Lee
Australia's stand-in coach Troy Cooley has praised Brett Lee for his spirited comeback from injury after he skittled out five England batsmen in Saturday's Lord's ODI, and says there is more to come from him. Lee was forced to sit out all five Ashes Tests with a side strain but made a comeback on the one-day leg of the tour, saving his best performance of 5 for 49 in the series-winning match.
"To see what he's been through, when he broke his foot and came back again, then tear a side and get his fitness up and see him hit that top-end pace which we know he's got and to sustain that, it's obviously very pleasing for Brett and all of us," Cooley told reporters.
Lee crossed the 90mph mark regularly at Lord's and constantly slipped in the inswinging yorker. Four of his five victims were bowled. Lee spoke confidently of crossing the 100mph mark and Cooley - also a fast-bowling coach - has backed him to achieve that feat.
"As you can see [from his display at Lord's], he has got the most ferocious inswinger in the game at the moment," Cooley said. "He keeps saying it [crossing the 100mph mark], so we're happy to keep pushing him up there. He is doing all the right things to make sure he is at full tilt whenever he can be, he is a champion.
"We still think he's got a little bit to go, he thinks he has a little bit more to go, so we're happy to facilitate the development of that."
Lee narrowly missed out on selection for the first Ashes Test at Cardiff, which Australia failed to close out on the fifth day despite having England nine down. Former New South Wales and Australia wicketkeeper, Steve Rixon, believed Australia sorely missed a bowler of Lee's ability in that game.
"I know it was only a one-day game, but if he can produce a five to 10-over spell like that during a Test match, he has the pace and ability to swing the ball that changes the pattern of a game," Rixon told the Daily Telegraph. "He can be a dangerous weapon.
"There aren't too many bowlers who can hit the base of the stumps that often. I know he was injured before the first Test in the Ashes [with a side strain], but if you take that game where we have 70-odd balls to get a final wicket, Brett would have been that person who can do that something special at the death.''
Cooley is filling in for Tim Nielsen, who decided to head home to be with his family, and said he has no intentions of taking on a full-time coaching role with Australia.
"It's a caretaker role at the moment, I love my role within the fast bowling group. I have a great job back home with the fast-bowling programme, so I've got no eyes on taking 'Vinny's' (Nielsen's) job," Cooley said. "It's basically just to be able to make sure he can have a break and come back refreshed.
"I'm very happy to be doing what I am at the moment and when Vinny said look after this team I said 'Okay, only if it's short-term'."