Aussie paceman Brett Lee in love with India

Published: Monday, October 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia's express pace bowler Brett Lee can't get enough of India, with Bollywood acting offers, burgeoning business interests and music projects in the pipeline, reports said.

Lee, in India for the Champions Trophy One-day tournament, is immensely popular and his fondness for the teeming cricket-infatuated nation has blossomed into a full-blown love affair.

The 29-year-old self-confessed Indophile says he was offered a lead role in a lavish Bollywood production when he visited Mumbai on his way home from Australia's tour of Bangladesh last April.

The notion was floated by Amitabh Bachchan, or the Big B, one of the biggest and most recognisable stars in India's huge film and television industries.

"He asked me if I wanted to play the major role with him," Lee told The Australian newspaper in Mumbai.

"I said 'mate, I've had no acting experience in my life' and he told me that was OK, that they could sort that out.

"The only reasons I didn't do it was, first, I would have needed to make sure it was the right sort of role for me.

"And second, they needed 50-odd days to film and I just didn't have that time.

"But it's something that, down the track, I would definitely like to be involved in."

Business interests -- he promotes watches and footwear -- have lured Lee to Mumbai and New Delhi at least annually in recent years.

He has also been a guest on one of India's highest-rating television chat shows, where he played guitar and was presented with a sitar, which now holds pride of place in his Sydney home.

Lee also has plans for a couple of future music projects working alongside leading players in the Indian industry, and adds to his growing Hindi vocabulary with each visit.

The fast bowler rates the subcontinent as his preferred travel destination outside Australia.

"In Australia, you might be admired as a sportsperson, which is quite humbling," Lee says.

"But over here it's as if they want to crowd you with love.

"They feel the need to get close. They want to see Ricky Ponting or Adam Gilchrist in the flesh.

"Over here, we are seen much more as entertainers than sportsmen. And they know that, if they don't push themselves forward to get past the person who's in front of them, they're going to miss out.

"They are a bit more forward because they know that, if they don't grab their chance, then they're not going to get anywhere due to the sheer weight of people here.

"But I've never felt anything other than welcome here. I've never felt threatened or in danger.

"And if you feel welcome in a place, then you're going to want to return."


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