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Last-over six among my best memories

Ricky Ponting will be taking a rest during the Perth ODI. He was not well when the tournament began, writes Brett Lee.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2004 10:19 IST
Brett Lee
Brett Lee

Captain Ricky Ponting will be taking a well-earned rest during the Perth one-dayer against India. He was not well when the tournament began, and it has been a hectic time for him, so he finally decided to recharge his batteries, before the finals, with a few days off.

Adam Gilchrist will lead the side in his absence, while Simon Katich comes in to take his place. The other change, this time forced by injury, is the inclusion of Michael Hussey. He replaces Michael Bevan who has fractured his rib.

As far as the pace bowlers are concerned, the WACA wicket generally has all of us lining up to bowl. Though the wicket has slowed down a bit over the last couple of years, it still has enough bounce and carry to excite pace bowlers the world over.

Having said that, there is a good chance that I might get a game off. I don't really want it, but the physio and team management will have the last word on the issue.

The last game against India will remain with me for a long time to come. I had changed my grip at the start of the domestic season, and the change was working because I got a couple of 50s for New South Wales.

During that last over from Balaji, plenty of thoughts were flooding my mind: should I back my strength and hit straight or should I just try for twos and threes till the last ball. With eight required from the last three balls, I suddenly decided to go back to my old grip.

When the ball was bowled I swung, shut my eyes, and prayed. What followed was an unreal feeling, because this was the first time I had turned things round in the last over with my bat. During the VB Series last year, I had taken the last four wickets when England need 14 runs at a run a ball.

My last-over six now ranks right up there with that spell, among my best memories in one-day cricket.

Looking ahead, the Perth game is being viewed as a crucial one by our side since we would like to carry on building momentum till the finals come. It has been a tough month for me since I lost my grandmother and then we all were gutted by the news of David Hookes' passing away.

Cricket kept my mind away from these setbacks, and right now I feel I am getting back to my top pace. It would be great to bowl at Perth since I know that if I bowl straight and fast, I will do well.

The rained-off game in Melbourne gave all the bowlers a chance to get some rest, so I'm actually feeling pretty fresh right now. However, it's upto the captain and management.

The Indians will be coming from a week-long break, and I expect them to play this game with great intensity even though the finalists have already been decided.

The bowlers, Balaji in particular, will be hurting from the close match in Sydney. It's going to be a tough game, with a full house at the WACA. It might not be the finals, but it will certainly be a great dress rehearsal before the finale.

First Published: Jan 30, 2004 23:44 IST