Brett Lee: A volcano waiting to explode

Published: Monday, May 2, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Australian paceman Brett Lee today (May 2, 2005) claimed he had fully recovered from his ankle injury and was bowling with the same pace and rhythm with which he made an impressive international debut six years ago.

The Aussie fast bowler, who has been clocked to have bowled in excess of 160 kmph (100 mph), also said he is hoping to break back into the champions' Test squad during the forthcoming Ashes series in England and grab the opportunity when it arrives with both his hands.

"I have had a tough 13-14 months and have not played any Tests in that period. I have played a dozen One-dayers recently during the VB tri-series featuring West Indies and Pakistan and then in New Zealand (bilateral series) and have taken a lot of wickets," Lee said.

"My ankle is now 100 per cent and I have done whatever I have been asked to do (on the fitness front). It feels like I am back to where I was in 1999," said Lee, who was in Mumbai to promote USA's sports brand New Balance.

"It's a matter of staying patient and whenever I get it, I grab the chance with both the hands. I am pretty sure it will come soon and hope to play against England in the Ashes series," the New South Welshman said.

Admitting he wanted very much to play in India when he came with the team that won the four-Test series 2-1 but couldn't force his way in, Lee said he was yet to peak in his career.

"I wanted to play in India, but I could not (make the playing 11). I am 28-years-old and yet to peak. Fast bowlers peak at the age of 29 or 30," Lee added.

Lee described the Ashes series in England this northern summer to be a very challenging one for the all-conquering Australian team.

"It will be a great challenge and we need to have plenty of fire and determination to do well," he said.

Commenting on a recent statement by ace New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns that even his mom can captain the strong Australian team, considered to be among the very best in the history of the game, Lee remarked in a lighter vein, "Cairns' mother must be a good cricketer."

Lee pointed out that just as any great captain needs a great team under him, a great team also requires an inspirational leader to make it fulfil its potential.

"I am fortunate to be playing in a team which is among the very best in the history. And Ricky Ponting has been a great leader. It's not easy to step into a guy like Steve Waugh's shoes and maintain the high standards," he said.

"Ponting and (Adam) Gilchrist (whenever he's got the chance) have done a fantastic job (of leading the Australian team well)," he added.

Lee refused to be drawn into the controversy over Ponting's bat saying he can't comment on the basis of newspaper reports, but sprang to Shane Warne's defence over charges of sledging levelled against the great leg- spinner during the ongoing English County cricket season.

"Shane is a fantastic cricketer and will play tough cricket, but doesn't sledge. We Australians play the game hard but in a fair manner. We chat at batsmen, but don't indulge in sledging," he explained.

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