Australia in Bangladesh, 2011 April 10, 2011

Lee's undiscovered country

Despite suffering what might have been career-threatening injuries, Brett Lee, was single-minded about not letting his epitaph be written, and he now has the milestone of 200 ODI matches to show for it
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Brett Lee is trying to explain why he hasn't retired from international cricket yet when he glimpses something across the room. Draped over a suitcase is his Australian limited-overs kit, the Southern Cross emblazoned in green over the distinctive yellow backdrop now reserved for overseas matches. Some would think it cornball to invoke the power of the shirt at a time when money is omnipotent, a fact succinctly illustrated by the Indian Premier League. But not Lee, who scarcely hesitates in citing the national emblem.

"That [international retirement] could've happened [by] now, definitely, but you look over and you see that shirt, you see the coat of arms on the chest it's a pretty amazing thing," Lee told ESPNCricnfo in Dhaka during Australia's ongoing ODI series against Bangladesh.

"I play cricket for Australia because I love it, I love what it brings, I love what it stands for. I think, also, I've got a new spark of energy as well with what's happening in the Australian team right now. We are going through a transitional phase and although we didn't win the World Cup, I thought in patches we played some excellent cricket; we've got a lot of youth coming through and some guys need experience at the top, and hopefully I'm doing my job in that role."

Playing at all again was a truly laudable achievement by the 34-year-old Lee. An elbow problem, at first thought to be minor, pushed him back out of cricket for 15 months, soon after a foot stress fracture had chewed up another nine. For a fast bowler entering his mid-30s, they are the sort of setbacks that end a career. Lee, though, was single-minded about not letting his epitaph be written, and he now has the milestone of 200 ODI matches to show for it.

"I can understand, looking from an outsider's point of view, that this has probably been my best achievement and my biggest achievement: to get back to where I am now, definitely," Lee said.

"But for me actually going through it, it was just about going about my business [in] the same [manner]. Yeah I was told that I probably wouldn't be able to bowl again; I was told with the elbow injury that I shouldn't be playing cricket; the chances are that it could happen again at the start of getting back into it [again], but that's not really what I had in mind and that's not how the script was written."

Throughout that time Lee's only thoughts were of the 2011 World Cup, of leading the attack and lifting the trophy. Now that dream is gone, crushed under the weight of Indian batting in the quarter-finals, but Lee remains, and for the time being he has no intention of stepping to one side.

An unsatisfactory conclusion to the Cup looms large in his revised thinking, but so too does the notion that he is beating the norms of ageing pace bowlers, particularly those as committed to high speed as Lee. In the language of basketball devotees, Lee has reached the bonus zone; in the parlance of Trekkies, the undiscovered country.

"I mentioned somewhere as a throwaway comment 'in a perfect world we win the World Cup and hold it up, who knows what might happen', but we didn't win the World Cup but I'm really happy with the way I'm bowling and the way my body's feeling," Lee said.

"When you're away for 15 months, my aim was to get back in and play for Australia and lead the attack, and if it didn't happen I would've been disappointed, but at least I could live knowing I've given it my best shot and I've been happy with what I've achieved.

"But throughout getting back and playing a couple of games for Mosman, back playing for the Blues; it was the whole mindset of 'just keep enjoying your cricket, don't put any pressure on yourself, the wickets will come if I bowl in the right areas'. Don't worry about what other people are thinking, don't worry about the selection panel, don't worry about the World Cup coming up, that stuff will take care of itself if I'm doing all I possibly can.

"I'm also enjoying having the young guys around, I'm enjoying being the senior bowler and playing more of a leadership role working with the young bowlers and passing on the knowledge I've had passed on to me from Jason [Gillespie] and Glenn [McGrath] and [Craig] McDermott who's working with us now here."

****

Lee's injury war stories are particularly useful at a time when the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, and even older heads like Clint McKay, Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger, are restricted by injury. As a senior bowler who had to battle numerous injuries as he developed his white-hot pace more than a decade ago, Lee's views on the physical toll of fast bowling are valuable. They are a wake-up call, too, for any fitness professional or sports scientist who believes that with careful management a bowler should be capable of existing independently of pain. Lee reckons he has bowled with varying types of discomfort in every match he has played since he was 17. Moreover, he has tended to ignore the stiffness indicative of a possible strain or tear until something has snapped entirely, the better to keep placing his name on the Australian team sheet.

My aim was to get back in and play for Australia and lead the attack, and if it didn't happen I would've been disappointed, but at least I could live knowing I've given it my best shot and I've been happy with what I've achieved
Brett Lee on his single-minded goal during his injury rehab

"To be perfectly honest, if I was to sit here now and say to you if I'd felt pain when I was bowling and I'd stopped, I wouldn't have played a game since I was 17, as simple as that," Lee said. "You've got to push through that pain threshold as a fast bowler. I don't care what anyone says, it's the toughest job in cricket but it's also one of the most exciting as well.

"The question is always asked: how can bowlers get injured. Are we playing too much cricket? Are the guys not doing enough weights? Are they doing too much weights? Are they not stretching enough? Are they wrapped in cotton wool? Are they bowling too much in the nets? Is their workload too heavy? Have they gone from under 17s to first-class cricket with not much time to expand on their problems and injuries?

"At the end of the day we weren't put on the earth to bowl with a cricket ball. To think about running in at 28-30kmh, contort your body, hyper-extend, counter-rotate, and when I land my front foot [it] feels 15 times my own body weight.

"Imagine trying to tell an Olympic javelin thrower to run in on a wet surface if it's dewy at night, to land in a foothole and try to throw the javelin - he'd laugh at you and say no way, they need a flat surface.But that's what a fast bowler has to do and it's such an unnatural action, that when you're trying to bowl 160 clicks, you're on the brink of getting injured every single ball."

So what then of effective management, of how to keep young bowlers fit while also steeling their bodies for the rigours ahead? Lee is adamant that young practitioners must learn from painful experience. And yes, injuries. About how to trust their own body, rather than being rationed on a meagre diet of deliveries in the nets as has become customary around Australia's so-called high performance pathway.

"It is about making sure that guys are looked after and understand too that it is such an unnatural action, and not be put in a class where they think you've got to be rested and can only bowl a certain amount of balls," Lee said. "Because you've got to be hardened as well for a fast bowler, you can't be put in the nets and be told you can only bowl 30 balls for that week and then see you next week type of thing.

"Your body and your bones have got to get used to that stress going through it. The old saying goes that through all the impact of bowling you get bone on bone and it creates a stronger platform to leverage off. If you haven't got that, your bones are soft and you haven't done the work, you can't expect to go bowling in the SCG nets at 130kmh twice a week, then go into a Test match and try to bowl 150 clicks for five days straight - the jump is massive.

"It's a massive catch-22 [situation] because you've got to do the work but you've also got to be fresh somehow. I don't really know what the answer is but I think it comes down to the individual. As bowlers get older they definitely got to know their body a lot better. I certainly know now the stiffness that might be my legs, might be my elbow, might be my back, I just know its stiffness because I haven't bowled for a week or because I've bowled for 10 overs flat-out, it's been hot, it's been humid, you're dehydrated.

"Then there's that pain there where you go 'oh I'm not used to that pain, that's different pain, that shouldn't be there'. The warning signs go off and you go straight to the physio. That just comes from experience; you can't teach it to a 17-year-old kid. Most importantly you don't want guys at 17 or 18; the first time they feel a niggle, they go to the physio and say 'my calf's hurting me' and they have three weeks off and they don't know where the line is.

"I've been the other end of the scale where I've gone until something's completely exploded or snapped."

For the moment, Lee is hopeful that nothing in his re-energised body will snap in the immediate future, as Bangladesh is followed by the Indian Premier League, and the last bow for NSW in the Twenty20 Champions League where he will attempt to repeat the rousing success of 2009. Beyond lie limited-overs matches in Sri Lanka and South Africa, and an Australian summer where he will enjoy one final tilt at Sachin Tendulkar. That now seems the most logical conclusion to Lee's career, a year later than the finish line he had previously set.

"I won't be at the next World Cup, I can put my house on that right now. Not that I wouldn't want to be but four years is a long time. The next 12 months or so let's just wait and see," said Lee.

"I don't have any plans in the next two months to say I've had enough and I'll walk away. There are some goals: I'd love to play the Australian summer, but you just don't know what the future's going to hold through injury or any other fact of life. I have no plans of standing aside because I'm enjoying cricket and loving it."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cmonaussiecmon on | April 13, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Very disappointing that he was out of cricket for a while, a great player with the ball and in the field. Also a great man to have around the team, adds positive spirit. Experience is a powerful thing, and he has heaps of it. A great Aussie. Don't retire soon, please.

  • POSTED BY straight_drive4 on | April 13, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    Heres to a guy who is probably the last of the absolute crowd favorites - a guy who can go to any ground, any country around the world and be cheered. What a lion hearted performer he has been for Australia - he certainly has the "never say die attitude"... its a shame that attitude and commitment is becoming less and less evident in all players and teams around the world. Well done Binga, you are a champion and my all time fav player. Dont feel bad about the world cup because you have certainly given your fair share back to australia cricket over the years, i hope you thoroughly enjoy the time you have left in the team. you deserve it.

  • POSTED BY on | April 11, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    I think Lee is a great ambassador of the game. Australian cricket will be poorer once he leaves and I really admire the aging fast bowler who could have so easily become a twenty twenty mercenary what with the IPL churning out huge sums of money to all and sundry.But he has chosen country over cash and is running in to bowl fast in the low, slow pitches of Bangladesh. And unlike other fast bowlers of the world who have just turned out to be honest trundlers, relying on change of pace he has come in and bowled his fastest and also his most guileful. He has a great slow bouncer if not Malinga"s yorkers, but surely, surely he must be one of the most watchable guys in world cricket. India loves him and will continue to love him, because he has very simply given his best every time he went out to bowl and I am not sure how many other world cricketers could honestly say that . Hats of to you Brett and may your tribe increase. sridhar

  • POSTED BY on | April 11, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    I was one off the few skeptics especially when the australian selectors decided to pick in Bree Lee for the series against england.I am more than happy that he has proved me wrong.I do have a lot admiration for this mans enthusiasm and he is one of the few cricketers who doesnt put up a snotty face.He is full of energy each times even while interacting with the media.He isnt like those english cricketers everytime you look at their face they potray as if the world is conspiring against them

  • POSTED BY vparisa on | April 11, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    There is no soul that does not like you Brett!!! When you retire Cricket will be poorer.

  • POSTED BY CricSamraat on | April 11, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    Gary Hansell - thank you so much for sharing your real life story on Lee. My respect and admiration for Lee has been further reinforced. Brett Lee - Sir, YOU ARElef A REAL LIFE HERO people should think of every single day when they are really looking to lift themselves up. This great man goes about his work without allowing himself to be brought down by neglect or rejection. Oh, my God, such persons are few and far between.

  • POSTED BY CricSamraat on | April 11, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Great bowler. Above all, he has truly indomitable spirit and takes himself out of comfort zone every time he bowls. Superhuman, Lee.

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | April 11, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    The greatest thing about Brett Lee is his sheer boyish enthusiasm for the game. Joy is a gret thing to see in a professional sportsperson. I'll take that any day over the snotty-nosed antics of a Stuart Broad or a Sean Tait ("...and stay out!")

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | April 10, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    Brett Lee is the best bowler in Australia at the moment. He was always a bit wild, but during the world cup he showed that he could bowl tight and accurate, though he tried a bit hard to get a wicket against India after bowling a wicket maiden the previous over. Johnson would do well to take a leaf out of Lee's book.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | April 10, 2011, 23:22 GMT

    Well said @Vindaliew - and I completely agree with you. Brett Lee is an original sporting hero. Show your kids; this is how the game should be played. Look at Edgbaston 2005 - Lee (with his bat!) came SOO close to winning that game. Brett Lee is the living embodiment of Australianism. Fantastic player.

  • POSTED BY cmonaussiecmon on | April 13, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Very disappointing that he was out of cricket for a while, a great player with the ball and in the field. Also a great man to have around the team, adds positive spirit. Experience is a powerful thing, and he has heaps of it. A great Aussie. Don't retire soon, please.

  • POSTED BY straight_drive4 on | April 13, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    Heres to a guy who is probably the last of the absolute crowd favorites - a guy who can go to any ground, any country around the world and be cheered. What a lion hearted performer he has been for Australia - he certainly has the "never say die attitude"... its a shame that attitude and commitment is becoming less and less evident in all players and teams around the world. Well done Binga, you are a champion and my all time fav player. Dont feel bad about the world cup because you have certainly given your fair share back to australia cricket over the years, i hope you thoroughly enjoy the time you have left in the team. you deserve it.

  • POSTED BY on | April 11, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    I think Lee is a great ambassador of the game. Australian cricket will be poorer once he leaves and I really admire the aging fast bowler who could have so easily become a twenty twenty mercenary what with the IPL churning out huge sums of money to all and sundry.But he has chosen country over cash and is running in to bowl fast in the low, slow pitches of Bangladesh. And unlike other fast bowlers of the world who have just turned out to be honest trundlers, relying on change of pace he has come in and bowled his fastest and also his most guileful. He has a great slow bouncer if not Malinga"s yorkers, but surely, surely he must be one of the most watchable guys in world cricket. India loves him and will continue to love him, because he has very simply given his best every time he went out to bowl and I am not sure how many other world cricketers could honestly say that . Hats of to you Brett and may your tribe increase. sridhar

  • POSTED BY on | April 11, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    I was one off the few skeptics especially when the australian selectors decided to pick in Bree Lee for the series against england.I am more than happy that he has proved me wrong.I do have a lot admiration for this mans enthusiasm and he is one of the few cricketers who doesnt put up a snotty face.He is full of energy each times even while interacting with the media.He isnt like those english cricketers everytime you look at their face they potray as if the world is conspiring against them

  • POSTED BY vparisa on | April 11, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    There is no soul that does not like you Brett!!! When you retire Cricket will be poorer.

  • POSTED BY CricSamraat on | April 11, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    Gary Hansell - thank you so much for sharing your real life story on Lee. My respect and admiration for Lee has been further reinforced. Brett Lee - Sir, YOU ARElef A REAL LIFE HERO people should think of every single day when they are really looking to lift themselves up. This great man goes about his work without allowing himself to be brought down by neglect or rejection. Oh, my God, such persons are few and far between.

  • POSTED BY CricSamraat on | April 11, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Great bowler. Above all, he has truly indomitable spirit and takes himself out of comfort zone every time he bowls. Superhuman, Lee.

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | April 11, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    The greatest thing about Brett Lee is his sheer boyish enthusiasm for the game. Joy is a gret thing to see in a professional sportsperson. I'll take that any day over the snotty-nosed antics of a Stuart Broad or a Sean Tait ("...and stay out!")

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | April 10, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    Brett Lee is the best bowler in Australia at the moment. He was always a bit wild, but during the world cup he showed that he could bowl tight and accurate, though he tried a bit hard to get a wicket against India after bowling a wicket maiden the previous over. Johnson would do well to take a leaf out of Lee's book.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | April 10, 2011, 23:22 GMT

    Well said @Vindaliew - and I completely agree with you. Brett Lee is an original sporting hero. Show your kids; this is how the game should be played. Look at Edgbaston 2005 - Lee (with his bat!) came SOO close to winning that game. Brett Lee is the living embodiment of Australianism. Fantastic player.

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    I remember taking my son to a test in Carins (Queensland) it must hae been 6 or 7 years ago. Australia v Sri Lanka, it was a long trip form Ireland and my son had just started to developed a keen interest in cricket. The most vivid memory of that game was not Hayden's twin centries, Maninga's raw speed or Martyn's fluid batting but of a man who never even played! We arrived early at the ground and as we waited in line to enter, the nets were in front of us. It was about 9am, unbelievibly hot, no one was in the nets except an exhausted, sweating, fast bowler, whom ball after ball pinnged it down consistantly at a hostile pace and with rare accuracy. He had no one to impress, he was "in a zone" as they say, the crowd were hushed in amazment, forced back when the ball thundered into the net. At this stage he must have known he was not selected to play for his country but he was by far the outstanding attraction for the two visitors from Ireland.

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Great to see Lee bowling 95mph after such long injury on grounds not much supportive for fast bowlers. He has decent character, personality of a gentleman, and still accurate, furuous and determined... Love to see 2 more of his years.. Mind you,,, he is abt to get 350 wickets now, fastest ever in history of ODIs, just in 200 odis at avg of 22.5

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 21:23 GMT

    What a fine man...!!! And a wonderful cricketer!!! When I list my Aussies' favourite cricketers (we Indians do have favourites there as well, yes, honestly)...Brett Lee is one of the top guys on that list. Hope Aussie not only rebuilds it team well and provide a tough test to all and sundry, which they have done all this time, their "attitudes" towards the game and other countries' players become more positive. Let's hope that by presence of people like Brett Lee, the game is played in the best spirits in which it is supposed to be played.

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    That was a Champion speaking....Iron Will and Commitment to play for the nation.Gud Luck

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    It was inspiring to see Bret lee come back after a blow to the eye bowl in the qf of the wc. Amazing will. Salute you sir.

  • POSTED BY dougoliver on | April 10, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    BRETT, you are a Fine man and a True gentleman of the game. A great competitor that bowls with aggression and still smiles, and no Cheap behaviour. Lovely example to the youngsters. You, Sir have done the game of Cricket a Great Service. You are a Credit to the game, just as Glenn McGrath was.

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    brett lee is one of the very few guys that i truly respect...his level of commitment and pure sportsmanship is something that other players should take note of...brett you are truly a remarkable person..gud luck for your remaining cricketing career

  • POSTED BY Prakhs on | April 10, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    Lee has been a champion bowler and will remain a champion. It was such a thrill to watch him bowl fast and accurate in the World Cup. Great to see a top class bowler working so hard on his fitness and getting back in the grove. It is very important for a senior pro like Lee to keep himself available for Australia, atleast for an year or so, as his team is going through a tough transition phase. Who else could be better than Lee to lead the bowling attack at this team. Mind you, we are also waiting for you to join your IPL team ASAP!!!

  • POSTED BY sundarb on | April 10, 2011, 16:29 GMT

    The thing about Binga is that he never gives up. ever. To bowl for like 8 overs and after fielding for 40 odd overs, he will still dive on the field to save a boundary. Blood all over his face, he then comes on to bowl his remaining overs. That's the spirit of the man. If young cricketers in Australia need to learn something from this man, this is it. absolute dedication. Binga - you're awesome. Shine on.

  • POSTED BY dhruvans on | April 10, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    A true champion and a legend of Australian cricket. It is a delight to watch him bowl, and intidimate batsmen with the ball and not his mouth. He is a gentleman, and always has a smile on his dial. Oh and who can forget his music video with Asha Bhosle and the green kurta. Good luck champ, hope your body holds up.

  • POSTED BY Rushikey on | April 10, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Lee is a one of the most popular overseas cricketer in India as well. Indian fans loves his sportman spirit and offcourse his music :)

  • POSTED BY Milind_Jadhav on | April 10, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    Oh! What a bowler! Very nicely written and tell one of the determination, grit and the desire to succeed without losing any of your dignity. Don't go Brett Lee stay on for as long as you want we will not complain. Another of the rare breed of cricketers who will leave the game poorer when they retire but the chances are that we will continue to see them for a long time on some stage or the other...we wont lose them completely!

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | April 10, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    If there is one thing Australian cricket really gets from Lee, it is that wonderful sportsman spirit of his. His bowling is a given and he is already the stuff of legend, but even without that, I'd always watch the Australian team because of him being in it. Not an ounce of cheap behaviour from Lee. A true ambassador to the sport and Australia are lucky to have him.

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    Lee...is a great cricketer and I like him a lot....

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    The later part of the article where he talks about injuries and training is very nice. I am very happy to see Lee doing so well. He is the best role model that came out of Australia after Steve Waugh. Many Aussie players have been good players in the last 10 years, but when it comes to being a good role model, Lee and Waugh are class apart.

  • POSTED BY BigPicture on | April 10, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    Lee has been one of the finest ambassadors of the game . Even at the height of Monkeygate and the infamous 2008 series ,Lee continued his policy of no sledging and speaking with his performance. With his commitment to the game and his sporting attitude he is a fine example for youngsters in Australia and beyond. All the best Brett !

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    He's one of the very few people left from when I first started following the game as a child. All my best, Brett. I'll miss you so much when you leave.

  • POSTED BY timus6778 on | April 10, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    will my comments ever be visible??

  • POSTED BY Gizza on | April 10, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    He is only one of two cricketers left from Australia's golden era (along with Ponting, Hussey and Clarke came after the peak). He should have one more year in him and retire at the SCG at the end of the 2011/12 season. Can't wait for Brett to help NSW get its second and final Champions League Trophy (seeing as how NSW will become two Sydney teams now). Bleed Blue! The NSW Blues!

  • POSTED BY timus6778 on | April 10, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    lee has been one of my favorites...he is one of the few members in the aussie team who is respected and adored by many...gilly was another...and mike hussey too stands up there among my favs..great job lee so far..all the best for the remainder of your career.

  • POSTED BY getgopi on | April 10, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    One of the most memorable performances of World Cup 2011 was Lee's commitment in the quarter final against India. The cut he sustained above an eye as he dove to save a boundary will stay with me...not to mention his incisive bowling through to the end.

  • POSTED BY thewayitwass on | April 10, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    GET HIM IN THE TEST TEAM!! dont play ipl, one dayers, or t20s, and just play a diet of test matches.. we need him so badly to in tests more than onedayers.. the youngsters will do fine in odis.. tests is a different ball game were aus is really struggling..

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Brett Lee is sheer class. Forget that he won't ever be mentioned amongst the greats of Australian cricket, but his conduct on and off the pitch have never been anything short of exemplary. I personally do feel that it's time to give the likes of Starc, Butterworth and Copeland (is it just me or is he mentioned in these articles referring to Australia's young quicks a lot less than all the others?) a go. But on the other hand they do need a leader, and god knows Brett Lee is a far better one than Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Siddle or just about any other "senior" bowler Australia has at its disposal.

  • POSTED BY Fernando_Torres_9 on | April 10, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    "and he now has the milestone of 200 ODI matches to show for it." Its 300 ODIs common!!

    All the best Brett!! You have been an outstanding ambassador of fast bowling and cricket as a whole!! The last over you bowled at the WC with all the effort in the world when the match was already lost shows what a character you are!! World cricket will miss you bad the day u call it a day!!

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    I love this bloke... !! he has stood up when every one else is either injured playing IPL... which means no love for the country colors... !! People like Lee, Tendulkar and Ponting epitomize struggle and the sense of duty... !! Lee has seen many ugly battles which were both physical and mental... and if you have to evaluate him, just have a look at Shaun Tait's career! the lad was promising and had huge potential, but one fine day in Perth, he ran into Tendulkar and Co. That one meeting was enough to send him into depression and a long retirement. He hasn't played Test cricket since and has retired from One-day cricket as well. Hence for someone like Lee to survive and strive on is a testament of his relentless passion towards the game... something which needs an ovation... !! Hats off buddy... you have made cricket proud... !!

  • POSTED BY Vindaliew on | April 10, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    Binga is the only Australian cricketer I not only respect, but love. He's an inspiration to the team, unlike others who only want to play IPL where the money is. He loves his country, and is proud of it, regardless of how low they've slumped. He'll keep on giving 110%, and won't let the pressure get to him. This is the man who could have won Australia the Ashes, or at least let them lose in a more dignified way. This is also the man who highlights why Mitchell Johnson will never lead the Australian bowling - it's not the pace of the ball, it's the heart of the bowler which matters the most. Let Lee take the first over, and you'll see Mitch improve. Sadly, we'll likely never see Lee in whites and the baggy green again, much to the relief of other nations.

    Above all that, he's SUCH a good bloke off the field, and doesn't even need to resort to sledging - his bowling speaks for itself, and for his team. May you have many many years of success left in you, Binga!

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  • POSTED BY Vindaliew on | April 10, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    Binga is the only Australian cricketer I not only respect, but love. He's an inspiration to the team, unlike others who only want to play IPL where the money is. He loves his country, and is proud of it, regardless of how low they've slumped. He'll keep on giving 110%, and won't let the pressure get to him. This is the man who could have won Australia the Ashes, or at least let them lose in a more dignified way. This is also the man who highlights why Mitchell Johnson will never lead the Australian bowling - it's not the pace of the ball, it's the heart of the bowler which matters the most. Let Lee take the first over, and you'll see Mitch improve. Sadly, we'll likely never see Lee in whites and the baggy green again, much to the relief of other nations.

    Above all that, he's SUCH a good bloke off the field, and doesn't even need to resort to sledging - his bowling speaks for itself, and for his team. May you have many many years of success left in you, Binga!

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    I love this bloke... !! he has stood up when every one else is either injured playing IPL... which means no love for the country colors... !! People like Lee, Tendulkar and Ponting epitomize struggle and the sense of duty... !! Lee has seen many ugly battles which were both physical and mental... and if you have to evaluate him, just have a look at Shaun Tait's career! the lad was promising and had huge potential, but one fine day in Perth, he ran into Tendulkar and Co. That one meeting was enough to send him into depression and a long retirement. He hasn't played Test cricket since and has retired from One-day cricket as well. Hence for someone like Lee to survive and strive on is a testament of his relentless passion towards the game... something which needs an ovation... !! Hats off buddy... you have made cricket proud... !!

  • POSTED BY Fernando_Torres_9 on | April 10, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    "and he now has the milestone of 200 ODI matches to show for it." Its 300 ODIs common!!

    All the best Brett!! You have been an outstanding ambassador of fast bowling and cricket as a whole!! The last over you bowled at the WC with all the effort in the world when the match was already lost shows what a character you are!! World cricket will miss you bad the day u call it a day!!

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Brett Lee is sheer class. Forget that he won't ever be mentioned amongst the greats of Australian cricket, but his conduct on and off the pitch have never been anything short of exemplary. I personally do feel that it's time to give the likes of Starc, Butterworth and Copeland (is it just me or is he mentioned in these articles referring to Australia's young quicks a lot less than all the others?) a go. But on the other hand they do need a leader, and god knows Brett Lee is a far better one than Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Siddle or just about any other "senior" bowler Australia has at its disposal.

  • POSTED BY thewayitwass on | April 10, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    GET HIM IN THE TEST TEAM!! dont play ipl, one dayers, or t20s, and just play a diet of test matches.. we need him so badly to in tests more than onedayers.. the youngsters will do fine in odis.. tests is a different ball game were aus is really struggling..

  • POSTED BY getgopi on | April 10, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    One of the most memorable performances of World Cup 2011 was Lee's commitment in the quarter final against India. The cut he sustained above an eye as he dove to save a boundary will stay with me...not to mention his incisive bowling through to the end.

  • POSTED BY timus6778 on | April 10, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    lee has been one of my favorites...he is one of the few members in the aussie team who is respected and adored by many...gilly was another...and mike hussey too stands up there among my favs..great job lee so far..all the best for the remainder of your career.

  • POSTED BY Gizza on | April 10, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    He is only one of two cricketers left from Australia's golden era (along with Ponting, Hussey and Clarke came after the peak). He should have one more year in him and retire at the SCG at the end of the 2011/12 season. Can't wait for Brett to help NSW get its second and final Champions League Trophy (seeing as how NSW will become two Sydney teams now). Bleed Blue! The NSW Blues!

  • POSTED BY timus6778 on | April 10, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    will my comments ever be visible??

  • POSTED BY on | April 10, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    He's one of the very few people left from when I first started following the game as a child. All my best, Brett. I'll miss you so much when you leave.