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More than a shooting star

To say that Brett Lee is a fast bowler is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, writes Varun Gupta.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 16:30 IST

To say that Brett Lee is a fast bowler is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut; that Hamlet is so much paper and ink.

Few things can be as stimulating as watching a fast bowler in full steam, putting the fear of god in the opposing batsmen’s minds.

And Brett Lee has been there, done that, although sporadically.

His performances have been like a shooting star — now one sees them, now one doesn’t — but for a brief moment they burn the brightest, lighting up the firmament.

Brian Lara vouched for that, last month, when he paid a glowing tribute to Lee’s seemingly innate pace and indefatigability.

“He is magnificent, one of the very few bowlers who can really make you feel a bit anxious even while sitting in the dressing room. He seems tireless,” Lara had told Hindustan Times.

However, Lee didn’t permit himself the indulgence of satisfaction and preferred to look at his targets rather.

“One of the main goal this year is to be more consistent and put in match-winning performances more regularly for Australia,” said Lee, in Delhi as brand ambassador for Timex watches.

"The last year Ashes defeat to England still hurts and this year's biggest objective is to bounce back and reclaim that urn…and be one of the protagonists to help Australia do that,” he added, determination dripping from his countenance.

So far, adrenaline and brio have kept Lee going but now he is cognisant of the fact that he has to exercise more prudence and discretion.

Recently, his remarks that he was “bowling on fumes and an empty tank” drew mixed reactions from different quarters and turned the burnout situation rather combustible, with FICA president Tim May even threatening that players might go on strike.

But on Tuesday, his words were less pungent as he braved the importunate media's myriad queries with elan.

“Yes, we’re playing a lot of cricket and we have to be careful. There has to be a balance,” Lee said, his demeanour reflecting concern.

Former captain Steve Waugh recently cited “too friendly relations” between the English and the Aussies as one of the reasons for Ashes slipping away from Australia’s grip.

However, Lee demurred at his former captain’s assessment. “There have been quotes floating around that we have been overfriendly, but I don't see a problem with that. We play our cricket the hard way and believe in controlled aggression,” he scoffed.

Ricky Ponting made an appeal to pace spearhead Glenn McGrath to give the Champions Trophy a skip in order to be at his menacing best for the Ashes. Has he considered this option? “If I’m fit, I’ll be here,” he said. However, there was a strong emphasis on the word ‘if ’, which might not convince many.

Looking spiffy in traditional Indian wear, it was towards the end that Lee broke the hearts of all the females gathered when he announced he would be getting married next month.

As expected, the announcement was met with exasperated moans of “Nooo” by the females, more than suitably attired for the occasion.

“Yes I’ll be marrying Elizabeth soon and that’ll be the greatest day of my life,” he concluded, his face lighting up. Ironically, that was the only time it shone the brightest, despite the facts that the spotlights were just turned off.