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They say Brett Lee was good, not great. They lied, the filthy, lying liars

Jarrod Kimber

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Brett Lee plays guitar along with the Indian band Aqua Flow, Mumbai, October 20, 2004
Lee: as vicious with guitar as with ball © AFP
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Players/Officials: Brett Lee | Shoaib Akhtar | Sachin Tendulkar
Teams: Australia

If you were a cricketer with 10 years of Test-match entertainment under your belt, not to mention film cameos, hit songs and your own personal underwear line, wouldn't you think that your retirement would be the biggest story of the week?

Maybe not front-page news, but at the very least everyone would be talking about it. Perhaps saying things like, "Hey, I liked that Brett Lee, even though he mangled the Hindi language in song. I will be sorry he won't be playing Test cricket anymore."

Instead some dude that you could never bloody get out trots out the first double-century ever scored by a man in a one-day international.

Inconsiderate.

So instead of looking at the achievements of Brett Lee, we are in full Sachin mode. It is so bad that Cricinfo said they wouldn't accept this piece about Brett Lee unless I used Sachin's name eight times.

This isn't the first time Brett Lee's career has had shocking timing. Fancy coming onto the scene when Australia's greatest triple bowling threat was already around. Imagine trying to steal headlines from Shane Warne. Or taking wickets out of McGrath's pocket. And then when two greats of the game are out of the way, you are fighting with Australia's black bagman, Jason Gillespie.

The one thing that is for sure is that Lee was fast, way faster than Shane Warne. But he wasn't the fastest. Ahktar had him beat, and now Shaun Tait might jump him as well.

It seems that in every way Brett Lee is just pretty good, and not great. It seems unfair, and it is also untrue.

Brett Lee was by far and away the greatest Test singer/musician of his generation. He was the Randy Newman of Test cricket. Sure, AB de Villiers, Shoaib Ahktar, Mark Butcher, Henry Olonga and Graeme Swann all fancy themselves as musicians, but how many of them are willing to sing in a language they have no grasp of? How many of them have charted on two different continents? How many of them are willing to name their band in the worst possible cricket pun way?

Only Lee.

He may not have been an all-time great, but the guy could play (cricket and tunes). That has got to be worth something.

So in the 12 seconds a day you have for conscious thoughts that don't include Sachin Tendulkar, why not think of Lee coming in to the crease. His chest barely containing his organs as he pushed himself through the crease. The sweat-stained forehead glistening in the afternoon sun. Then the delivery, which had a lot of power and grunt but in such a tidy package. His was the sort of action you would expect from an accountant who plays a bit of club cricket on the weekend, an almost anal-retentive run-up by someone who is trying hard. He was tucked in, clean-cut, and looked immaculately white.

Remember him singing, bowling, or crying next to Freddie Flintoff, but it would be nice if you did remember him, as he is such a nice guy.

His Test cricket may be over, but his music will live on.

RSS FeedJarrod Kimber, the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com, is an Australian writer based in London. His new book is now on sale

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