Lee heads to England to build World Cup hopes

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2002, 21:14 [IST]
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Sydney: Shane Lee says he wants to use his short playing stint at English county Worcestershire to have a crack at becoming Australia's all-rounder at next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Lee, elder brother of Test fast bowler Brett, is a replacement for fellow Australian Andy Bichel for the final two months of the English county cricket season. Bichel is returning to Australia ahead of his country's One-day series in Kenya next month and the ICC Trophy in Sri Lanka. Lee sees it as a move designed to build his confidence and momentum ahead of the Australian summer and push him back into the consideration of national selectors.

Ian Harvey, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson have failed to make the most of their opportunities since Lee's last appearance in April 2001, with captain Ricky Ponting admitting the all-rounder position remains up for grabs. "The way I look at it, the World Cup is in February and the side will be picked early January or maybe even late December, so there's not a hell of a lot of cricket really before now and then," Lee said on his departure on Thursday.

"I really want to hit the season running and make a statement, put my hand up for the all-rounder's spot because I think it's available. "You're always in the frame if you're performing - it's just up to me. I want to get the message out there that I'm still really keen about my cricket and focused on it. "I want to get to England and perform, then do the same here. I really want to give this a crack." Lee's last appearance for Australia was in a 93-run win over India at Vishakhapatnam in April last year.

He hit 25 runs off 11 balls and took 0-11 off three overs and was dropped. Lee's 45 games for Australia have rarely lived up to expectations, especially in batting, where he didn't make a half-century. He took one five-wicket haul for a bowling average of 25.93 and economy rate of 4.73. His first game for Worcestershire will be against Glamorgan next week.

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