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Players do need rest: Brett Lee

Matches should never be reduced, but there should be an adequate recovery time for players, the fast bowler tells Anupam Thapa.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 16:22 IST

Brett Lee, one of the fastest bowlers in the world, was in town as a brand ambassador of Timex. He was graceful enough to share his thoughts on many issues with Hindustan Times.
             
How are you preparing for upcoming Ashes?

We learnt a lot of things from them (England). We have planned some great cricket when we host them this winter. We are also geared up for the upcoming Champions Trophy and the World Cup.

Steve Waugh criticised Australians that the reason for your Ashes loss was your team was too pally with the England team… I don’t see being friends with cricketers from other team as a problem.

Indian players are very good mates too. Even Andrew Flintoff is a great friend. But the friendship factor doesn’t lead to losing matches.

I respect Waugh a lot and I am waiting to catch up with him on this issue. He is my greatest mentor and he is the one who gave me an opportunity to play for Australia.

Are you going to surprise the English with the reverse swing?

I met Wasim Akram in Bangladesh. He is a great guy and has a proven record in bowling reverse swing. So I wanted to learn the art from him. Going to him is just like going to the dentist.

Once the job is done you expect good results. He taught me the art of bowling on slow wickets. It’s a different variety of bowling altogether and he gave me invaluable information. I feel this meeting makes me a better player.

What about the epic one-dayer between Australia and South Africa?

I still feel that match was a dream. It doesn’t seem real. According to our coach John Buchanan, ‘any team is good enough if it scores 400 while batting first. That’s the benchmark and would be the greatest thing ever.’

But when we scored 434 and then SA scored 438 beating us, you’ve got to give them a credit. We never assumed that SA would win that match.

We scored 434, and just thought we had the game on the bag. Never did we imagine that there was a chance for SA. It was a great game and SA was simply outstanding. It was the greatest one-dayer ever played.

What was going on when you bowled the last over?

I felt honoured when Ricky Ponting backed me and threw the ball towards me to bowl the last over. But it was a small ground and I was bowling to an in-form batsman. I wanted to win the game for Australia, but on this occasion it wasn’t to be. Ultimately spectators enjoyed the game. 

What do you think about the current string of Indian medium pace bowlers?

Indian bowlers have great style and the kind of work Dennis Lillee has done (at the MRF pace academy) is showing. But what seems to be great about India is that people still want to bowl fast. It’s tough to do so as there is not much bounce on the wicket.

What about the criticism Sachin Tendulkar is getting these days?

I just have to say, never ride after a champion. Sachin is the most amazing player I have ever seen and the most amazing person too.

He is very humble. A true champion doesn’t lose form overnight. Once his arm gets all right, expect couple of hundreds from him.

What about your captain Ricky Ponting? Is he on a century making spree?

He is on the run these days playing superb cricket. He is a true countryman and the way he approaches the game is simply emphatic. He is a great captain.

What do you think about the burnout issue? Are players playing too many matches?

It is definitely a big concern for players. Someone has to closely monitor it. Take the case of Australia, we played five Tests in six weeks, it is lot of cricket.

Definitely burnout will happen. Although personally I am happy, as I have grabbed a rich haul 50 wickets in 11 Tests.

Do you think matches should be reduced?

No, matches should never be reduced but there should be an adequate recovery time for players. It's about being sensible and planning the schedule. Players do need rest.