Australian pacer Brett Lee has signed up with a Wellington side for New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 cricket competition after making an impressive comeback in the shorter format from six months of injury lay-off.
Lee finally signed up with Wellington after months of negotiations and will play five matches for the team, missing half of their programme because of his state commitments with Australian side New South Wales.
The 33-year-old pacer, who is trying to win back his spot in the Australian ODI and Twenty20 teams after six months on the sidelines due to an elbow injury, made his return for NSW in their one-day win over Western Australia.
Cricket Wellington chief executive Gavin Larsen said Lee would debut for the province in the home match against Auckland on December 14. "It's tremendous to have secured the services of Brett and his record speaks for itself," Larsen said.
Lee, who is aiming to find a place in the Australian ODI squad for the 2011 World Cup, made an impressive comeback yesterday as he picked 2-37 off 11 overs in NSW's five-wicket one-day victory over Western Australia at Hurstville Oval in Sydney.
Aside from a brief five-over spell for Mosman recently, it was Lee's first genuine hit-out since he played for the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL in April.
At 33, Lee replaced some of his trademark speed and venom with variation and changes of pace and, after coming through the match unscathed, declared he was ready for Australia's Twenty20 and one-day games against Sri Lanka.
"I'm putting my hand up - simple as that. I'm fit, I'm playing and if they feel I'm ready then pick me - I'm keen to play," Lee said.
"I wouldn't have played today if I didn't feel I was ready to play at this level," he was quoted as saying by 'Daily Telegraph'.
Lee will get a chance to further push his claims for a national recall when NSW host Sri Lanka in a one-day tour match at the SCG on October 24, followed by a Twenty20 game on October 27.
Lee retired from Test cricket in 2008 as the fourth most successful Australian bowler of all time with 310 wickets in 76 matches.
He also has 324 one-day wickets from 186 matches, with his last one-day international being against India in October last year.