A serious ankle injury and the lengthy lay-off have failed to dim the contagious smile and childlike enthusiasm. Instead, the setback has fired up Brett Lee to touch new milestones.
Lee spoke to HT on how he coped with the injury and doubts. Excerpts:
How tough was it to stay out of action?
It was pretty bad. What made it worse were thoughts like ‘will I ever be able to get back where I was’, ‘will I ever be able to bowl that fast again’. But I was quietly confident of my abilities. I told myself if I worked hard and the ankle felt good, I’d be back.
Did the comeback game against Pakistan go along expected lines?
It went off really well. The first ball I sent down (after the operation in January) was 149 kmph. Here I was worrying whether I would be able to ball with the same pace and vigour, and the first ball touches almost 150kmph. That was very encouraging as I was still a few weeks away from top fitness levels. I am sure of bowling much faster once I attain top fitness.
Will you go all out now, or will the fear of injury hold you back?
There will always be some doubt at the back of the mind about what if it happens again. But I will have to get rid of it, and trust the hard work and training I have done to see me through.
I have to accept that my ankle is never going to the same again, there will always be some pain. Having accepted it, I will need to find a way to go out and bowl the best I can.
Cricket Australia hasn’t allowed some of the injured players to play in the IPL in view of the T20 World Cup and Ashes. How do you see your participation in that light?
Coming from an injury lay-off, I needed to play somewhere to build up my match fitness and skills. The IPL has provided me the opportunity. As of now, I am fit and need to keep playing cricket to be in absolutely perfect shape for the T20 World Cup and Ashes.
The Kings XI have been unlucky with the bowlers falling prey to injury.
It’s partially bad luck and partially because of the conditions that they bowl in, especially in the Indian sub-continent. There is absolutely no help and it wears them down mentally and physically. In desperation, they try harder and get injured.
What did you tell the Kings XI bowlers who have gone for runs?
We’ve had quite a few meetings and shared ideas on ways to go about it. It’s more of everyone bringing something to the table, instead of me doing all the talking. I would, for instance, ask Vikramjit Malik how he got Sachin (Tendulkar) in the last game against the Mumbai Indians and then plan something with those inputs. It’s all about sharing ideas and trying to execute them.