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Patience pays off for Lee

It’s batsmen who usually reach their peak at his age but at 31, Brett Lee seems to be bowling as well as he ever has, writes Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Feb 10, 2008 09:13 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

It’s batsmen who usually reach their peak at his age but at 31, Brett Lee seems to be bowling as well as he ever has. After bursting on to the scene as one who would bowl at a breakneck pace, he couldn’t have matured at a better time either, playing the senior bowler’s role to perfection after the retirement of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

The most striking part about the fast bowler from New South Wales has been his consistency and he is consistently clocking over 140 kmph and even hurling the odd one at over 150. Forty wickets in six Tests against Sri Lanka and India this summer, he has carried that form into the one-day games as well.

“I don’t really see any difference in my bowling. I just think it comes down to a number of things. I am more patient than I have been. That’s something that I have worked on and concentrating on, especially this summer,” Lee said on Saturday, when asked about the change he has undergone in recent times.

“I think it's got something to do with the opportunity as well. The chance to take the new ball in Test cricket, having the choice of ends, leading the Australian attack — something I had always dreamed of — I am just enjoying it and having fun.

Lee attributed his success to the standards Australians set for themselves. “We set the bar very, very high and don’t accept playing second-string cricket. We want to keep improving.”

According to him, it’s a question of not being satisfied. “You never ever get to a point in your life where you feel happy and feel the whole standard is set. We all try and keep raising that bar.”

But bowling fast days in and days out in the days of endless cricket must take its toll on his body. So how does he plan to take a break and recharge batteries? “It’s just a matter of seeing how the body feels and what’s happening in the tournament too. It’s always good to go from Tests to ODIs because you are only bowling 10 overs."

And although Australia have started on a positive note, Lee felt there was still a lot to test himself against. “Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Tendulkar, Dhoni… There are world-class players in both sides. Our bowling has been brilliant, but we’ve got a lot ahead of us. If we win tomorrow, the momentum will be sky-high going into Perth against Sri Lanka.” Good memories of Perth they have, but the Indians wouldn't mind that they don't have a ODI there against Australia.