IPL, national duty have their own place: Lee
Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee on Saturday rubbished suggestions that the Indian Premier League (IPL) will lure players away from national duty, saying both can co-exist without being detrimental to each other.
"I don't think we should compare or match IPL with Australian cricket team as both have their own place," said Lee, who would be playing for Kings XI Punjab, one of the eight IPL teams competing in the Twenty20 tournament beginning next week. On being quizzed about a recent survey conducted by Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) which says nearly half of the Aussie cricketers were willing to give up their central contracts to play in the cash-awash IPL, Lee said, "I don't think there is any reason why we can't do both (play for Australia and IPL simultaneously)."
"My heart is for Australian team and wearing Baggy Green cap is a great honour," he added. The express bowler said he would give his "best" while playing for his IPL team "as I do when I play for Australia".
Apart from Lee, Kings XI Punjab will have Yuvraj Singh as "icon player" leading the side and will also feature Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardane, Romesh Powar, James Hopes, VRV Singh, Uday Kaul among other players. Lee also felt players from different countries playing in one side "will also help strengthen bonds between the nations".
Lee had a word of praise for Indian pacers Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth, saying "they are world class bowlers". "It would be great to share the new ball with them," he said.
Coach Tom Moody said he does not see motivation as a problem among players just because they come from different nations/regions.
"They are all professionals and have played in different conditions at different times...A lot of pride is at stake," Moody said. Preity Zinta also expressed hope that her team would do well in the tournament.
Asked about the possibility that a section of the media may boycott the IPL in view of the restrictive clauses put forth by the League, Zinta said she would like to be "positive about the whole thing". "I hope that a middle path will be followed and let's hope it works out," she said. Later, Lee and Zinta kick-started ticket sales at the PCA stadium.