England v Australia, NatWest Series final July 4, 2005

Lee beamer lands him in hot water again

Cricinfo staff

David Shepherd warns Brett Lee © Getty Images
Brett Lee's tendency to bowl beamers has again landed him in the spotlight after he unleashed one early on in Saturday's NatWest Series final, leading to a severe reprimand from David Shepherd, the umpire, and another defence from his captain, Ricky Ponting.

Lee was slammed after bowling a beamer to New Zealand's Brendon McCullum earlier in the year and, although he apologised after sending Marcus Trescothick sprawling early on in England's innings, questions were again raised.

There is no doubt that Lee did not intend bowling such a dangerous delivery - he was attempting a yorker but got his bearings wrong. And, indeed, rather than unsettling the English batsman, according to Ponting the ball appeared to have more effect on Lee.

"It knocks the confidence out of him straight away," Ponting said. "If you look at him after that beamer that he bowled, he's holding back and [bowling] within himself immediately after that because he just can't keep his front foot [from slipping]. That's why he moved around the wicket. It's just a really difficult thing for Brett. Someone that's running in that fast and trying to bowl that fast, if you can't keep your front foot then I guess it's going to happen every now and again.

"I'm not trying to defend it or anything, but if you could slow it down and have a look at his front foot you'd understand he's slipping a lot. There didn't seem to be any hard feelings out on the ground. Trescothick accepted the apology and everyone got on with it from there."

At the time of the incident with McCullum, Peter Roebuck, in his syndicated column, called for Lee to be sent home from New Zealand. "His beamer was merely the latest in a series of violent deliveries sent down by a pace bowler at best reckless in his approach and at worst utterly unwilling to remain within long-accepted parameters governing conduct on the cricket field," he fumed. "If Australia's captain, coach and manager did not have sharp words with Lee after the match then they stand in dereliction of their duties."