Lillee rules out Cricket Australia return

Dennis Lillee has made a guest appearance in Brisbane to work with the Centre of Excellence

Cricinfo staff

Dennis Lillee thinks Glenn McGrath should consider a county stint © Getty Images
Dennis Lillee made a guest appearance at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane yesterday, but the former Cricket Australia bowling coach is not planning a return to regular work with the organisation. Troy Cooley invited his old mentor and team-mate to speak to the group and it was the first time Lillee had gone back to the set-up since his angry resignation from his 15-year position two years ago.
The fallout still lingers after Lillee's role with Cricket Australia was initially halved from 30 days a year to cut expenses and then disbanded. "I am helping Troy who asked me to have a look at the lads and he's a great mate so I gratefully accepted," Lillee said in The Courier-Mail.
The paper reported that when Lillee was asked whether he hoped it would lead to a fresh relationship with Cricket Australia he said: "No". "It's not a matter of mending the ways, it's that no one ever sent me a letter saying anything - the last thing I heard over the airways was that I didn't have a job ... there is a way of doing things."
After the Ashes loss last year the national-team structure was reviewed and one of the key recommendations was more specific coaches. Cooley was poached back from England, where he had a crucial influence on the 2005 result, as the Centre of Excellence's bowling mentor and one of his early duties was to entice Lillee back for a look at the winter squad, which includes the Australia A fast men Brett Dorey, Shaun Tait and Ben Hilfenhaus.
"I'm doing this for Troy and the boys, no one else," Lillee told the Sydney Morning Herald. Despite James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, saying the organisation was open to Lillee "playing a role", Lillee said he had not been approached about a possible return.
Lillee also spoke about the Ashes series and said Australia's chances of reclaiming the urn had improved with the knee injury to Simon Jones. "If they have Jones out and we have all our guys fit, then I think we could turn the tables," he said. "I think the bowlers are going to be the key."
With Glenn McGrath planning a comeback at the Champions Trophy in October, Lillee said Australia's attack leader of the past decade should step back into his old role. However, he said it was important for McGrath to be properly prepared and suggested a county stint in England.
"The way he performs with work under his belt seems to make it logical he would like to get in a lot of good solid work before the series starts," Lillee told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Quite frankly, if you're Brett you'd be quite happy to bowl at the other end to the great man."