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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Brett Lee

Brett Lee

Age 47AustraliaAUSTRALIA
Right-arm fast Bowler

One of the fastest bowlers of his time, Brett Lee once possessed the ability to bowl a delivery at 160 kph that would be a dreadful sight for most batsmen around the world.

“Binga” as he is fondly known, made his Test debut in 1999 against India at the MCG and intimidated the Indian batters with his fiery pace, finishing with a 5-wicket haul in the first innings. His quality evident and it didn't take long for the world to see that as he went on to scalp 42 wickets in his first 7 Tests, before being sidelined for a good while due to injuries. The New South Wales seamer was capable of bowling lethal quick bouncers and had a well-disguised slower ball in his armoury, along with a destructive yorker. Lee had a knack of swinging the ball both ways - away when it’s new and reversing it when it’s old. With a charging run-up and aggressive on-field antics, it was evident that the kind of impact he made was a long-lasting one. His most successful performances came under Ricky Ponting’s captaincy, where he developed smarter and better ways of bowling at opponents and matured into an exemplary bowler, knowing when to bomb the batsmen with speed and when to contain.

The pacer went on to make his ODI debut later in 2000 against Pakistan, and was a vital figure in the Australian set up. In his illustrious ODI career, he got 380 wickets, at an average of 23.36 and an economy rate of less than 5. He was amongst the top 10 bowlers in the world since 2003, No.1 in the world in 2006. And when he took a hat-trick against Kenya in 2003, he became the first Australian to do so in a World Cup competition.

Life for Brett Lee, however, started to become tougher after he made a comeback from ankle injuries. Unable to get into his stride and find his rhythm again, Lee was dropped from the Test following the hammering he received from India in Sydney, 2004. It took him about a year and a half to retain his place in the whites, when he made his return in Australia's 2-1 loss in the 2005 Ashes.

In a career that spanned over a decade of speedy spells, Lee was a part of the most devastating bowling attack in the Aussie camp, along with Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie. But when McGrath retired, Binga did an excellent job of spearheading his nation's pace attack, and his Test and ODI records justified that claim. Fast bowlers are always prone to injuries and Lee was no exception. With frequent elbow and ankle injuries, side strains and stress fractures, his career began to take a U-turn and soon, Lee gave up his Baggy Green, announcing retirement in early 2010 with a view to prolong his ODI and T20I career. With 310 wickets in 76 appearances, Lee ended his Test career on a high note but continued to build his ODI repertoire.

Brett participated in the IPL since its inception, first under the Mohali franchise and later plying his trade for Kolkata. In 2012, he played a vital part in the Shah Rukh Khan owned franchise's title win. In the same year, a serious calf injury ruled him out in the middle of the England series, following which the veteran announced his international retirement. He, though, continued to play domestic Twenty20 competitions across the globe. In 2013, Brett returned to the Kolkata camp with an additional role of a bowling mentor, along with being his side's opening bowler.

Post his retirement from all forms, Mr. Lee was roped in as a commentator, much like most ex-cricketers, where he now continues to share his insight about the brilliant game. His musical talent has been no secret to the world. He's been a part of a rock band called Six & Out, recorded a duet titled "You're the one for me" with legendary Indian singer Asha Bhosle and has gone on to make a couple of acting stints as well. Lee was a firecracker on the field, but a true gentleman off it. He was and still continues to be a shining example to young cricketers everywhere.

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