February 24, 2010

Speed kills the fast bowler

Brett Lee's retirement marks another stage in the passing of a cricket species
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With Brett Lee's Test retirement the game has lost another of its endangered species. The fast bowler capable of lightning spells is dying even though the men who create the bolts are stronger and fitter than ever.

Lee, who could touch 160kph, rates Test cricket as the game's pinnacle but his body, wrecked by years of feet pounding into the ground and arms slinging balls, won't let him play over five days. What is sadder than the resignation in Lee's eyes is a fast-bowling landscape without high-speed, high-class quicks.

His withdrawal leaves Dale Steyn as the only experienced paceman who is currently fit. Steyn has just played his 38th Test, half the number Lee managed, which makes him the grandfather of the modern fast-bowling generation. At 33, he has been broken by the trade.

Cricket's joke is fast bowlers are stupid, but the crowded schedules have forced them to become increasingly clever - and business-orientated - in their outlooks. Lee is hoping his frame allows him to turn out in one-day internationals and Twenty20s, a specialist path already being taken by Shane Bond and Andrew Flintoff. Given the gruelling demands of Tests, bowlers cashing cheques that fly around like old-school bumpers seems the smart thing to do.

Lee has had five ankle operations, a couple of bouts of surgery on his right elbow, back stress fractures, side strains and stomach tears along with the other daily aches that are, comparatively, so minor they don't get reported to the physio. It's not something batsmen or spin bowlers have to endure.

Jason Gillespie and Dennis Lillee, who are among Australia's great fast men, have praised Lee for the way he dealt with so many setbacks and bowled through so much pain. Only they truly understand the demands of slamming up to 20 times their body weight on to the front foot at delivery, for overs and days in a row.

Since the start of the millennium, the declining Makhaya Ntini is the leading fast bowler with 380 wickets, but he wasn't in the Lee-Steyn league for pace. Lee leapt for 310 Test breakthroughs, with his first game coming at the very end of 1999, and is second on a decade list that is full of quality bowlers but has barely a sprinkling of extreme speed merchants.

Lee has had five ankle operations, a couple of bouts of surgery on his right elbow, back stress fractures, side strains and stomach tears along with the other daily aches that are, comparatively, so minor they don't get reported to the physio. It's not something batsmen or spin bowlers have to endure

Shoaib Akhtar, who has appeared in 46 Tests, now talks more about comebacks than making them and hasn't played a five-day game since 2007, the year Lasith Malinga was last used by Sri Lanka. Captains wanting containment add to the problems.

Bond becomes as brittle as a drought-hit tree when he has to bowl over consecutive days and Flintoff could be super fast in bursts, but only when his ankles, knees and shoulders stopped groaning. McGrath, Pollock, Zaheer, Gillespie and Harmison were fast-medium, while Vaas and Hoggard, who also feature high on the list, were more medium-fast.

Kemar Roach and Mohammad Aamer have just started learning about how hard quick bowling is after emerging over the past year, but both have already experienced the discomfort associated with operating at more than 150kph. Roach's ankle is already requiring painkilling treatment, while Aamer missed a Test against Australia due to a groin problem. Those types of injuries don't win sympathy, but Roach can ask Fidel Edwards, who is stuck on 43 Tests, about dealing with discomfort in the 2000s.

The astonishingly quick bowlers are loved because they are frightening and rare. With Lee's departure a genuine speedster has gone and left little apart from Steyn. It's easy to long for previous eras when bowlers seemed faster than they were probably were, which is an unqualified judgement from a comfy spectator's seat.

In the 1990s, Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, Waqar and a young McGrath had more than 250 Test wickets for the decade. Marshall, Hadlee, Kapil, Imran and Botham achieved that mark in the 10 years before. They were greats, varying between fast-medium and flat-out, who operated on a diet of fewer matches and no lucrative Twenty20 distractions.

Australia's next long-term bowling hope is Mitchell Johnson, who hasn't missed a match in 32 Tests since his debut, but he's not super fast. Currently he is the third quickest bowler in Australia's Twenty20 team, behind Shaun Tait, who reached 160.7kph against Pakistan, and Dirk Nannes, who is regularly in the 150s.

Tait doesn't want to play Tests and early this week Nannes retired from first-class action. The longer game is just too hard and they get injured too often, which costs international caps and threatens IPL deals. Four overs at full throttle is the new dream, not 20 overs a day of grunt during two innings of a Test. Over the next couple of months Lee's creaking body will tell him if he can cope with even such a small amount of work.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • crikkfan on February 27, 2010, 4:44 GMT

    andrew-schulz so u think u r reading the same thing being said abt aussies again and again huh? wonder why! maybe ..er..have you considered that there is some truth to it?! do you read popular magazines from your own country ?....like the peter roebuck one in SMH about how ponting should be sacked after that disgraceful Sydney test? sure a lot more indian fans are probably griping about that - thats simple a play of numbers with over a billion fans..but if you read around like NBRADEE from west indies mentioned aussies are consistently disliked for their persistent arrogance on the field barring a few notable exceptions ofcourse and Lee is one of the better blokes surely. so lets stick to that!

  • Big_Chikka on February 25, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Speed itself doesn't kill the fast bowler. What has more of an effect is the time they spend in the nets (sometimes concrete floors, covered with matting) and the amount of overs they bowl during their cricketing lifetime on various surfaces.

    I am led to understand Lee started at a very early age, add to this pressures of performing, the fact that his action went unchecked till he had injured himself, and you begin to see a picture. Now compound this with test matches and flat tracks and it becomes a truly "Herculean" feat to stay fit and fast for an extended period of time.

    We could learn something from the "old school" bowlers about longevity.

  • jonesy2 on February 25, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Lee is easily the greatest fast bowler since mcgrath. and by the way mitchell johnson IS super quick if you watch him you will see him bowling consistently in the mid to high 140s and 150s thats quick as you get.

  • ogu999 on February 25, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    @CharonTFm On a forum/blog space following an article where everybody says what they feel I don't see why I should keep my comments to myself? Let me ask you if you have heard of 'bowling action remodeling'? If not then maybe you do a little background research on this, see if it can apply to Shaun Tait and then ask people to keep their comments to themselves. Otherwise maybe you should keep your comments to yourself!

  • Nipuna001 on February 25, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    Brett Lee is a great cricketer; but him retiring from the tests is perhaps best for him, Give him credit for the 300 wickets, but of late whenever he played he hasn't done as much as he would have liked (check out stats). But in shorter formats he has been superb. I have a gripe about how "experts" calssify bowlers "fast", seems to me this is a reputaion thing rather than actual speeds. For instance this article suggests Mitchell Jhonson as not genuinly fast, which is rubbish, the man has been hitting 150 plus day in and day out, he has bolwed quicker than likes of Steyn on a consistant basis. Sure he is slower than Nannes &Tait, Like Ponting stated Ausises are blessed with speed right now. While Malinga is mentioned here and he is one of the quickest in Sri Lanka, he is not exactly in the same league when it comes to pace (fastes he's bowled is 150, but that happens once in a bluemoon). In fact when Dilhara Fernanado & he's bowled together Dilhara has been quicker consistantly.

  • MisterEvilBreakfast on February 25, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    It's sad, but it's something that we all saw coming. Bing was a true sportsman; he played hard, but he played fair, something that the current "old heads" of the Aussie team don't do all that well. There haven't been that many more proud people to pull on the baggy green than Lee, and even fewer that enjoyed the contest more than him. In the end, you have to understand that cricket is a sport, and no sportsman can play forever, whether it's age, injury or form. Hope to see you on the park sometime, Binga; my slow ball is a killer.

  • seb101 on February 25, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    chrisalis11 - a *weasel*?? Of all the things you could say about Brett Lee - a *weasel*???? I'm kinda speechless - a lot of unpleasant characters have played cricket for Australia over the years - and for other countries too mind you - but Lee is an old-style gentleman. Seriously. Let's not re-write history 5 minutes after he retires from tests.

  • Browndog1968 on February 25, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    There are many comments about how good Lee has been. Good, very good but not great. I tune in regularly to replays of cricket from years ago when the likes of Hadley, Lillee, Marshall, Ambrose, Holding etc were plying their trade and, whilst they were thrilling to watch with their ability to blast out batsmen, I sit back wondering how Lee would have fared on some of the pitches they played on. I remember diabolical MCG wickets with balls bouncing no higher than knee height. Lightning fast WACA wickets, wickets in the sub continent where balls virtually rolled along the ground, West Indian mine fields and English green tops. Hmmmm Lees 350 wickets on placid batting paradises put him right up there I reckon.

  • CharonTFm on February 25, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    Ogu999 if you know Shaun Tait or followed his journey, you will know that he does not intentionally miss out on TEST cricket, his body cannot take the rigors of the way he bowls. His body cannot take consecutive overs bowling at 150+, and unless you can do that consistently yourself I would keep your opinions more general.

    As for 20/20 it's too quick to blame that for the demise of TEST cricket, its a form of the game that is apart of cricket now, and only true cricketers see that TEST cricket is the pinnacle of cricket, and if they do not aim for that then they have no reason to call themselves cricketers.

  • ogu999 on February 25, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    There goes another one and we know where! This is ridiculous! All these complaints of not being able to take 5 days of cricket are solely coming out of the development that now there is this demon called 20/20, yet better known as IPL. While I can understand Lee's case as I can understand Flintoff's and Bond's, what excuse does Shaun Tait have for not playing 5 day cricket at an age of 25? Like IPL- and its goons Modi and Pawar shut out ICL by strong arm methods-I feel the cycle has to complete by something shutting out the IPL shop for good. The current security situation is a strong contender to shut the IPL shop, and it just may be because Modi and Pawar have realized that there is no point in taking the circus abroad, as there is not as much money as there is in keeping the circus at home. Players security be damned! BCCI with Pawar and Modi only cares for more franchises, more celebrity, more money and an annual window as big as 3-4 months for their circus.

  • crikkfan on February 27, 2010, 4:44 GMT

    andrew-schulz so u think u r reading the same thing being said abt aussies again and again huh? wonder why! maybe ..er..have you considered that there is some truth to it?! do you read popular magazines from your own country ?....like the peter roebuck one in SMH about how ponting should be sacked after that disgraceful Sydney test? sure a lot more indian fans are probably griping about that - thats simple a play of numbers with over a billion fans..but if you read around like NBRADEE from west indies mentioned aussies are consistently disliked for their persistent arrogance on the field barring a few notable exceptions ofcourse and Lee is one of the better blokes surely. so lets stick to that!

  • Big_Chikka on February 25, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Speed itself doesn't kill the fast bowler. What has more of an effect is the time they spend in the nets (sometimes concrete floors, covered with matting) and the amount of overs they bowl during their cricketing lifetime on various surfaces.

    I am led to understand Lee started at a very early age, add to this pressures of performing, the fact that his action went unchecked till he had injured himself, and you begin to see a picture. Now compound this with test matches and flat tracks and it becomes a truly "Herculean" feat to stay fit and fast for an extended period of time.

    We could learn something from the "old school" bowlers about longevity.

  • jonesy2 on February 25, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Lee is easily the greatest fast bowler since mcgrath. and by the way mitchell johnson IS super quick if you watch him you will see him bowling consistently in the mid to high 140s and 150s thats quick as you get.

  • ogu999 on February 25, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    @CharonTFm On a forum/blog space following an article where everybody says what they feel I don't see why I should keep my comments to myself? Let me ask you if you have heard of 'bowling action remodeling'? If not then maybe you do a little background research on this, see if it can apply to Shaun Tait and then ask people to keep their comments to themselves. Otherwise maybe you should keep your comments to yourself!

  • Nipuna001 on February 25, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    Brett Lee is a great cricketer; but him retiring from the tests is perhaps best for him, Give him credit for the 300 wickets, but of late whenever he played he hasn't done as much as he would have liked (check out stats). But in shorter formats he has been superb. I have a gripe about how "experts" calssify bowlers "fast", seems to me this is a reputaion thing rather than actual speeds. For instance this article suggests Mitchell Jhonson as not genuinly fast, which is rubbish, the man has been hitting 150 plus day in and day out, he has bolwed quicker than likes of Steyn on a consistant basis. Sure he is slower than Nannes &Tait, Like Ponting stated Ausises are blessed with speed right now. While Malinga is mentioned here and he is one of the quickest in Sri Lanka, he is not exactly in the same league when it comes to pace (fastes he's bowled is 150, but that happens once in a bluemoon). In fact when Dilhara Fernanado & he's bowled together Dilhara has been quicker consistantly.

  • MisterEvilBreakfast on February 25, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    It's sad, but it's something that we all saw coming. Bing was a true sportsman; he played hard, but he played fair, something that the current "old heads" of the Aussie team don't do all that well. There haven't been that many more proud people to pull on the baggy green than Lee, and even fewer that enjoyed the contest more than him. In the end, you have to understand that cricket is a sport, and no sportsman can play forever, whether it's age, injury or form. Hope to see you on the park sometime, Binga; my slow ball is a killer.

  • seb101 on February 25, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    chrisalis11 - a *weasel*?? Of all the things you could say about Brett Lee - a *weasel*???? I'm kinda speechless - a lot of unpleasant characters have played cricket for Australia over the years - and for other countries too mind you - but Lee is an old-style gentleman. Seriously. Let's not re-write history 5 minutes after he retires from tests.

  • Browndog1968 on February 25, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    There are many comments about how good Lee has been. Good, very good but not great. I tune in regularly to replays of cricket from years ago when the likes of Hadley, Lillee, Marshall, Ambrose, Holding etc were plying their trade and, whilst they were thrilling to watch with their ability to blast out batsmen, I sit back wondering how Lee would have fared on some of the pitches they played on. I remember diabolical MCG wickets with balls bouncing no higher than knee height. Lightning fast WACA wickets, wickets in the sub continent where balls virtually rolled along the ground, West Indian mine fields and English green tops. Hmmmm Lees 350 wickets on placid batting paradises put him right up there I reckon.

  • CharonTFm on February 25, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    Ogu999 if you know Shaun Tait or followed his journey, you will know that he does not intentionally miss out on TEST cricket, his body cannot take the rigors of the way he bowls. His body cannot take consecutive overs bowling at 150+, and unless you can do that consistently yourself I would keep your opinions more general.

    As for 20/20 it's too quick to blame that for the demise of TEST cricket, its a form of the game that is apart of cricket now, and only true cricketers see that TEST cricket is the pinnacle of cricket, and if they do not aim for that then they have no reason to call themselves cricketers.

  • ogu999 on February 25, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    There goes another one and we know where! This is ridiculous! All these complaints of not being able to take 5 days of cricket are solely coming out of the development that now there is this demon called 20/20, yet better known as IPL. While I can understand Lee's case as I can understand Flintoff's and Bond's, what excuse does Shaun Tait have for not playing 5 day cricket at an age of 25? Like IPL- and its goons Modi and Pawar shut out ICL by strong arm methods-I feel the cycle has to complete by something shutting out the IPL shop for good. The current security situation is a strong contender to shut the IPL shop, and it just may be because Modi and Pawar have realized that there is no point in taking the circus abroad, as there is not as much money as there is in keeping the circus at home. Players security be damned! BCCI with Pawar and Modi only cares for more franchises, more celebrity, more money and an annual window as big as 3-4 months for their circus.

  • on February 25, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    the only way to manage injuries when players play nearly non-stop cricket is to reduce the workload of fast bowlers by limiting the number of matches of all forms that they play...either extreme of asking bowlers to concentrate play only test cricket as the purists would like or the bowlers themselves opting to play only ODIs/T20s would be unfair...teams/clubs must be encouraged to follow a rotation policy for their bowlers especially the really fast ones so that the bowlers get ample amount of rest and also are able to play all forms of the game while minimizing the risk of injuries.

  • WeirPicki on February 25, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    Andrew-Shulz is spot on. As for Brett Lee, he was a very good but not great bowler. A trier without any of the tools that say a Lillee, Hadlee or Marshall possessed.

  • chrisalis11 on February 24, 2010, 22:18 GMT

    Lee was a weasel. As a POM, I'm very glad to see the back of him.

  • Rajesh. on February 24, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    Most fast-bowling injuries are related to faulty actions, one that puts a lot more strain on the body. A smooth run up and action with speed generated with rhythm rather than stressing out the body is the right recipe.... Ask "Whispering Death" Michael Holding.......

  • agent99 on February 24, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    Good article but i'd also say that the amount of workload is too much. In the past era there were plenty of fast bowlers like Akram, Waqar, Hadlee etc. The surprising fact is that even with modern fitness techniques fast bowlers are lasting for shorter periods. It's just too saddening.........hope this changes in future.

  • on February 24, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    he was great and tormined greated great player like sachin.

  • knowledge_eater on February 24, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    as i stated earlier i am just quoting myself again " ... It is quite insulting for current bowling line up, to tell them you are not good bowlers.You can't take wickets.You can't bowl like great bowlers use to bowl.I mean come on guys, just compare the amount of cricket they are playing now days. How many hours and day they keep bowling series after series.The great bowlers weren't playing enough cricket at that time. Our current bowlers and batsman are not resting enough. I don't want to take anything away from great bowlers. Bowling is an art, you don't learn in a series or 2. I know I might get lot of backlash saying it but i think current bowling line up could have been great as the old timers if you switch places. You got 100% body fitness, and i tell you current ordinary looking bowling line up could have troubled old timers as the same intensity......"

  • VickGower on February 24, 2010, 18:53 GMT

    What?! All these comments and none blaming Modi/IPL for the demise of fast bowlers? Unbelievable.

  • NBRADEE on February 24, 2010, 18:53 GMT

    Hey Schulz, there were some great blokes in the Aussie team in the past, and some downright yucky characters as well - we in the West Indies do not favor highly Messrs. Ponting and Waugh as great Aussie captains, especially after their comments made in response to fans here who have heard the way they handle our criticism of their exploits on the field (Waugh's famous Kensington 'catch' of Lara in Kensignton in '95 comes quickly to mind). Mark Taylor is a true statesman (remember why he 'really' retired overnight on 334 n.o. in Sri Lanka?), and we all loved Warne and others like Hayden and Langer. Even your own press has been hard on some Aussie cricketers for the Aussie attitude on the field of play!

  • knowledge_eater on February 24, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    I absolutely agree Speed is killing fast bowlers, but i want to rephrase it by saying "amount of cricket and speed is killing fast bowlers". I am not from 1990 eras of those greats, but i am proudly saying this my era's bowlers from 1999-2010 are as great as there were greats in past. I am very surprise and proud of watching these guns going strong. I think they are much fitter than previous legends. People don't realize but bowling fast requires 2 things mainly, your leg/hand exercising muscles and most imp. your two big lung oxygen carrying capacity. Would everyone agree with that we are in much more polluted world ? (full of dust and Co2 coal and ugly stuff that lodge into your lung and decreases your capacity) It was great to see these greats in my life-time. I always believe that players of new generation always improve and comes out better than their role models. Ofcourse, excluding few exceptions.

  • Almost on February 24, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Great fast bowler gone now..gave us breathtaking performances coupled with extreme pace..sad to see the paradoxical effect T20 has on modern day cricket..Good luck to Lee in the future..

  • kabe_ag7 on February 24, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    I wonder if andrew-schulz has seen one Ponting elbowing Bravo in the stomach or if he has ever seen Watson or Mcgrath dismissing batsmen. And it seems he has a court of his own where he knows the 'truth' better than the others. I am also sick of whingers like you. Do Brett a favour by considering him different from his mates.

  • FIASNAHK on February 24, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    Its really sad because right through most of this decade, it been lee vs akhter as the guys who constantly push the speed barrier. Now adays, there aren't that many bowlers who can bowl 150+. And there is no way that steyn can compare to those two in terms of speed. 17 year old mohammad aamer is faster than him, and i cant remember the last time he bowled two consecutive deliviries back to back. But the aussies have a bright future in this department. Bollinger and siddle can really crank the pace. In the pakistan tests they were constantly 148+

  • popcorn on February 24, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Brett Lee - THE SMILING ASSASSIN -we'll miss you,Binga.

  • cricmypassion on February 24, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    @andrew-schulz - as much as I don't like amit's comment, you aren't being too complimentary to the Indian team or its fans too, aren't you? Its easy to go berserk and get provoked by comments that aren't to your liking, but a measure of balance would do you a world of good. Man for man, we aren't any better or worse than the current aussie side. We have gentlemen like Sachin, Dravid and Laxman in our wings still and obnoxious ones like Harbhajan and Sreesanth. I will leave it to you to decide who fits which bill in the current Aussie setup.

    Brett Lee was definitely a great sport, everyone enjoyed seeing him play and he will be missed. Hopefully he should still play for a long while in ODIs and T20s.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 24, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Speaking as an India fan, I too am sick of so-called India fans who use every forum as an opportunity to diss great players from other countries. It shows the immaturity and fragility of the Indian identity which, as represented by these voices, is that of an arriviste, upstart parvenu. Empty vessels make the most noise and those who put national pride (read arrogance) over an honest appreciation of the sport are not true cricket lovers but rabid zenophobes exploiting cricket to further an agenda based on communal hatred and racial prejudice. Sadly this then elicits further ignorant opinion and comment from fans of other countries.

    Brett Lee will be sadly missed for the excitement, colour and passion he generated and the way he played the game in the true spirit in which it should be played. Let us hope his example is emulated by future generations.

  • Sesh01 on February 24, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Peter English makes a lot of fuss about Dale Steyn as being the only genuinely fast bowler left in world cricket - I wonder if you have noticed that he is not even the fastest bowler in the South African team? Have a look at the Hawk-Eye analysis of the India-SA test on this very website if you don't believe me: Morne Morkel has an average speed and a top speed that are both at least 2-3 mph faster than Steyn.

    According to the Hawk-Eye tool, Morkel bowls at roughly the same speed as Mitchell Johnson (about 145 kmph on average, fastest balls at 150+). Steyn and Ryan Harris are about the same speed. Of course different speed guns give different results, but at least this shows that Steyn is not the outright quickest bowler in the world.

    Don't get me wrong, Steyn is obviously the best pace bowler around these days - swing and line and length are so important. It's just if you are talking about pure speed, he isn't your man.

  • andrew-schulz on February 24, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    I'm sick of reading comments on an article on cricinfo where, regardless of the topic, the first response I get to criticizes Aussie cricketers for arrogance and for not carrying themselves with dignity. Whether it's Brett Lee's retirement or the state of outfields, some Indian whinger like Amit just wants to bag the behaviour of some past group of Australian players. Well none of them ever insisted on an umpire being removed, or threatened not to play a Test, or had a Test abandoned because they wanted to sook that some of their team had been reported, or lifted the elbow into an opposition player's stomach, or gave pathetic and offensive send-offs to a dismissed batsman, running half the width of the field to do so, or lied in a court of law over on-field incidents, or indeed racially insulted an opponent. Amit, your general insult to the 'rest of the lot' is a disgrace. No Australian side ever has been as unlikeable as the current Indian side. None.

  • CricketMaan on February 24, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    Great bloke, a good friend of India and hope his association with cricket continues in one way or other. He certainly has earned the respect of billions of fans across the world, especiall a billion in India. One of the rare species of an agressive Aussie fast bowler, yet a great bloke to play with and against. Ask cricketers around the world. I don't think even Glen or Steve would come close to the respect that cricketers and fans have for Lee, simply coz he has stayed out of controversy for a long time. A true Champion.

  • amit1807kuwait on February 24, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    Its kinda sad that Lee has retired from Tests, he always seemed a very likeable character unlike most Aussie players of his decade. Lee, along with Gilly and Hussey, and to an extent Damien Martyn were the only Aussie players who carried themselves with dignity on a cricket field. Rest of the lot were haughty, arrogant, and always ready for a verbal. That said, Lee's bowling will be missed, he was a whole-hearted performer, never gave up, but was not so effective if his swing deserted him. Good luck to him for the remainder of his career!

  • waqas19 on February 24, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    boy i laughed my stomach out about the comment related to shoaib akhtar. But then again the only reason test matches created some arousment amongst its followers were genuine fast bowlers. Lee, Akhtar, Flintoff in full swing were lethal and potent fast bowlers who were just mad and who only knew how to bowl fast. Then again the stress of international cricket took a toll on everyone. Alas a great era of fast bowling too comes to an end succumbing to injuries. It really is a pity and unjustice truly to say with Cricket.

  • gzawilliam on February 24, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    In my opinion its not the amount of overs , games or bad curries that brett has had that caused these injuries.

    We all know fast bowling causes injuries. Its just part and parcel of slamming down on the crease that hard.

    The problem i think is in the physical conditioning that bowlers go through now. Brett lee used to be the fittest player in the world.

    Dennis lillee mentioned not long about today's breed of quicks seem to be more focused on their beach body than their actual core strenght and muscle hardening. They bowl less overs in the attempt to stop overtraining injuries but they aren't building up muscle strength endurance like they used to in the 80's-90's.

    I've even seen brett lee with that picture of him squatting nearly 200kg supported in a power rack when he was trying to get back for the recently gone ashes. Well that just shows you the issue here.

    At least he looked good doing it. I bet you he even bench pressed with heavy weights too. Oh look elbow pain..

  • anunad on February 24, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Hrad Call to make. The future of fast bowling lays in the future fastbowlers

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  • anunad on February 24, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Hrad Call to make. The future of fast bowling lays in the future fastbowlers

  • gzawilliam on February 24, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    In my opinion its not the amount of overs , games or bad curries that brett has had that caused these injuries.

    We all know fast bowling causes injuries. Its just part and parcel of slamming down on the crease that hard.

    The problem i think is in the physical conditioning that bowlers go through now. Brett lee used to be the fittest player in the world.

    Dennis lillee mentioned not long about today's breed of quicks seem to be more focused on their beach body than their actual core strenght and muscle hardening. They bowl less overs in the attempt to stop overtraining injuries but they aren't building up muscle strength endurance like they used to in the 80's-90's.

    I've even seen brett lee with that picture of him squatting nearly 200kg supported in a power rack when he was trying to get back for the recently gone ashes. Well that just shows you the issue here.

    At least he looked good doing it. I bet you he even bench pressed with heavy weights too. Oh look elbow pain..

  • waqas19 on February 24, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    boy i laughed my stomach out about the comment related to shoaib akhtar. But then again the only reason test matches created some arousment amongst its followers were genuine fast bowlers. Lee, Akhtar, Flintoff in full swing were lethal and potent fast bowlers who were just mad and who only knew how to bowl fast. Then again the stress of international cricket took a toll on everyone. Alas a great era of fast bowling too comes to an end succumbing to injuries. It really is a pity and unjustice truly to say with Cricket.

  • amit1807kuwait on February 24, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    Its kinda sad that Lee has retired from Tests, he always seemed a very likeable character unlike most Aussie players of his decade. Lee, along with Gilly and Hussey, and to an extent Damien Martyn were the only Aussie players who carried themselves with dignity on a cricket field. Rest of the lot were haughty, arrogant, and always ready for a verbal. That said, Lee's bowling will be missed, he was a whole-hearted performer, never gave up, but was not so effective if his swing deserted him. Good luck to him for the remainder of his career!

  • CricketMaan on February 24, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    Great bloke, a good friend of India and hope his association with cricket continues in one way or other. He certainly has earned the respect of billions of fans across the world, especiall a billion in India. One of the rare species of an agressive Aussie fast bowler, yet a great bloke to play with and against. Ask cricketers around the world. I don't think even Glen or Steve would come close to the respect that cricketers and fans have for Lee, simply coz he has stayed out of controversy for a long time. A true Champion.

  • andrew-schulz on February 24, 2010, 10:34 GMT

    I'm sick of reading comments on an article on cricinfo where, regardless of the topic, the first response I get to criticizes Aussie cricketers for arrogance and for not carrying themselves with dignity. Whether it's Brett Lee's retirement or the state of outfields, some Indian whinger like Amit just wants to bag the behaviour of some past group of Australian players. Well none of them ever insisted on an umpire being removed, or threatened not to play a Test, or had a Test abandoned because they wanted to sook that some of their team had been reported, or lifted the elbow into an opposition player's stomach, or gave pathetic and offensive send-offs to a dismissed batsman, running half the width of the field to do so, or lied in a court of law over on-field incidents, or indeed racially insulted an opponent. Amit, your general insult to the 'rest of the lot' is a disgrace. No Australian side ever has been as unlikeable as the current Indian side. None.

  • Sesh01 on February 24, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Peter English makes a lot of fuss about Dale Steyn as being the only genuinely fast bowler left in world cricket - I wonder if you have noticed that he is not even the fastest bowler in the South African team? Have a look at the Hawk-Eye analysis of the India-SA test on this very website if you don't believe me: Morne Morkel has an average speed and a top speed that are both at least 2-3 mph faster than Steyn.

    According to the Hawk-Eye tool, Morkel bowls at roughly the same speed as Mitchell Johnson (about 145 kmph on average, fastest balls at 150+). Steyn and Ryan Harris are about the same speed. Of course different speed guns give different results, but at least this shows that Steyn is not the outright quickest bowler in the world.

    Don't get me wrong, Steyn is obviously the best pace bowler around these days - swing and line and length are so important. It's just if you are talking about pure speed, he isn't your man.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on February 24, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Speaking as an India fan, I too am sick of so-called India fans who use every forum as an opportunity to diss great players from other countries. It shows the immaturity and fragility of the Indian identity which, as represented by these voices, is that of an arriviste, upstart parvenu. Empty vessels make the most noise and those who put national pride (read arrogance) over an honest appreciation of the sport are not true cricket lovers but rabid zenophobes exploiting cricket to further an agenda based on communal hatred and racial prejudice. Sadly this then elicits further ignorant opinion and comment from fans of other countries.

    Brett Lee will be sadly missed for the excitement, colour and passion he generated and the way he played the game in the true spirit in which it should be played. Let us hope his example is emulated by future generations.

  • cricmypassion on February 24, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    @andrew-schulz - as much as I don't like amit's comment, you aren't being too complimentary to the Indian team or its fans too, aren't you? Its easy to go berserk and get provoked by comments that aren't to your liking, but a measure of balance would do you a world of good. Man for man, we aren't any better or worse than the current aussie side. We have gentlemen like Sachin, Dravid and Laxman in our wings still and obnoxious ones like Harbhajan and Sreesanth. I will leave it to you to decide who fits which bill in the current Aussie setup.

    Brett Lee was definitely a great sport, everyone enjoyed seeing him play and he will be missed. Hopefully he should still play for a long while in ODIs and T20s.

  • popcorn on February 24, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Brett Lee - THE SMILING ASSASSIN -we'll miss you,Binga.