Brett Lee retires from international scene as one of our best
Australia's Brett Lee celebrates with his team mates. AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Australian fast bowler Brett Lee is retiring from international cricket, the right time to call it a day from a faithful servant.
The Australian cricket team is dire need of new blood and for new fast bowling talent to emerge.
This has happened to a degree in the past 12-18 months with Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, but recent results have highlighted that we need more.
The ODI series against England has been the last straw for the 35-year old Lee, who has increasingly battled injury after injury. The finals straw appears to have been a calf strain.
But Lee can be proud of a fantastic career, particularly in the one-day arena. He played 221 matches for Australia and picked up 380 wickets at an average of 23.36. His best bowling figures were 5-22, economy was 4.77 an over and he could also bat a bit – scoring 1100 runs with a high score of 59.
The right-armer retires just one wicket shy of Glenn McGrath’s record for Australia of 381 scalps. Anyone who can bowl regularly at 150km per hour and over is a treasured weapon.
Lee made his Test debut back in 1999 against India at the MCG. It was a fabulous opening – he took a wicket in his first over when he took the wicket of Indian batsman Sadagoppan Ramesh.
He was part of a golden era of Australian cricket, one of the best teams we ever produced. Lee played 76 Tests, taking 310 wickets, with a bowling average of 30.82 and best figures of 5-30. His economy average was 3.48 an over and he scored 1451 runs with a high score of 64.
I can remember his long and outstanding stand under extra pressure against England in the second Test in 2005 at Edgbaston. The ability to tough it out with the bat was impressive. I was there in the stands when Kasprowicz was out and England won the Test. Lee was crestfallen and was embraced by Andrew Flintoff in what was a great and iconic sporting moment.
His pace, at his peak, was fearsome for batsmen. When Lee was fit and firing, he was a constant threat to the batters.
Lee won a World Cup in 2003 and boasted genuine world-beating pace at the height of his career. The NSW South Coast product was one of the last remnants of an extreme high point in Australian cricket, current captain Michael Clarke along with former captain Ricky Ponting are all that’s left of the famous Test team that featured the likes of Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist, Hayden, Langer, the Waughs and Slater.
Australian cricket fans will long remember the big, infectious smile and exhuberant celebrations when he snared a vital wicket.
It was one many brands and advertisers fought to get a piece of, as he became the good-looking blonde poster-boy of the sport down under. But apart from the constant battle for fitness, you could tell Lee really loved his cricket – thundering down the pitch or intimidating a batsman and celebrating with his Baggy Green clad mates.
Brett Lee has a lot to be proud of. An exceptional 17-year career with NSW, Kolkata, Wellington, the Sydney Sixers and Australia. It’s expected he will continue in the domestic Big Bash League – and why wouldn’t he after just taking out the Big Bash League with a Sixers win over the Perth Scorchers. This showed he still has something to over in the 20-over arena. But it’s not too early to say thanks Binga, and good luck with your career beyond cricket.
It’s official, I have retired from international cricket! Thanks for all your love and support. It’s been an amazing 13 years
— Brett Lee (@BrettLee_58) July 13, 2012
Watch Glenn Mitchell's wrap of the second Test, where Australia were victorious early on the final day, winning by 218 runs and taking a 2-0 series lead into the third Test in Perth.