Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Brett Lee

Brett Lee might not play again. The Times report said the news 'may act as a filip for England'. I disagree, and I think the England players would too. The odd beamer aside, Lee has been an exemplary opponent and the kind of bowler you'd tell your grandchildren about facing.

Australia may remember him for other things, but in England it will be for 2005, where, Warne apart, he was the man who came closest to changing history. There was the innings at Edgbaston of course, and the howitzer that removed Flintoff during the hide-behind-the-sofa run chase at Trent Bridge. And then there was the spell he bowled at Kevin Pietersen either side of lunch on that deathless last day at the Oval, one of the epic passages of modern Test match cricket.

As Pietersen said later, 'I knew it was me or him.' It was KP in the end, but it was nearly Lee, and then who knows what might have happened. He bowled brutally quickly, and it took a genius like Pietersen to counter-attack him. Both touched greatness then.

There was another spell too, perhaps the last we'll see of him, in the warm-up game at Worcester last summer, when it looked like he'd bowled his way back into the Test side. Again he hit that level of pace where the smallest increments of swing or seam on any one delivery made it effectively unplayable.

Recently in Australia there was a horrible series of racist beatings carried out on Indian students by dimwit up-country shit-kickers. It was Lee that the Government asked to make a broadcast to India to say that not all Australians were like that. They're not and Brett Lee is not.

'I may never bowl another ball,' he said, 'and if that's the case, then I'm so satisfied with my career and my longevity'. He left nothing behind out there, he was a worthy foe.


Thiru Cumaran said...

I still remember the World Series 05/06 cup, where SL played with SA as the third team. Man, it was nerve wracking for us when Lee came onto bowl because, not only was he fast, he was so danged accurate! He could literally crush your toe with the speed he got! It was that combo of deadly pace and deadly accuracy (something you rarely find nowadays) that made him the go-to man for Punter!

I'll really miss him! A lion-hearted cricketer & guy, to be honest! :(

Brian Carpenter said...

What sticks in the mind from that day at The Oval is the vicious bouncer which Pietersen had to arch his back to avoid. I was there, but it wasn't until I saw it on the highlights that it hit home that I hadn't seen a more dangerous ball since sometime in the 1980s, probably when Patterson was charging in at Kingston in 1986in the Test Graham Gooch is thinking of when he always describes him as the fastest bowler he ever faced.

Apart from that the lasting memory of Lee will be his good humour and enjoyment of the game, something which shone through again and again in 2005. Based on many conversations I've had I can't think of a more popular Australian cricketer in this country.

Karthik Krishnaswamy said...

Brett Lee is, to me, emblematic of fast bowling in the 2000s - he was a biomechanist's dream, and capable of destructive spells, but never really cracked the art of taking wickets - despite going past 300 in Tests.
With all his pace, and a handy outswinger, he never managed the sort of spell Dale Steyn bowled at Nagpur.
Beyond all that, though, he's been a fantastic cricketer for Australia, a superb competitor, and (as far as I can tell from what I've seen of him, on and off the field, on TV) a genuinely nice guy.

Tony said...

It's a pity Lee got carried away with his bouncer barrage at Pietersen. Lee lost his head, over-did the bouncers and let KP, and England, off the hook.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware that the Lebanese and Polenesian communites of Australia were up country. Thanks for the education.