Melbourne:Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has told injury-plagued pacer Brett Lee that his Test future hinges on a good performance in the upcoming one-day series against England.
Lee missed the entire Ashes series, which Australia lost 1-2, due to a rib injury. He was not picked in the side for the last two Tests despite declaring himself "100 per cent fit".
Ponting said he has told Lee that to focus on his ODI performance now.
"I spoke to him about that once he found out that he wasn't playing in the last Test. The Test series was out of the way and he had to focus on the shorter forms of the game.
"If he gets himself back bowling well, then there are opportunities to get back into the Test team," Ponting was quoted as saying in 'The Australian'.
"He understands that. He has been pretty good right the way through the tour. He is obviously disappointed he didn't get to play in the Tests. He has an opportunity with the Twenty20 and one-day matches coming up over the next couple of months to really show where he's at," he said.
"If he bowls as well as he can bowl and as fast as he can bowl, then there will be a spot for him in any team around the world," he added.
The 32-year-old Lee, one of only four Australians to claim 300 Test wickets, is passing through a tough phase in his career after a bitter marriage break-up last year.
Ponting justified keeping him out of the last two Ashes Tests, saying the pacer was short on match practice.
"Someone like Brett needs a lot of bowling under his belt. Bowling as quickly as he does he needs a bit of work behind him. It's hard to switch that on after a long break," he said.
"He would have played the first Test if he hadn't hurt his side in Worcester and I'm sure he would have been up there with the leading wicket-takers in the series if he had played.
"Unfortunately that's the way it goes. He knows the way back now. He has to do everything he can to impress and bowl well and see where that takes him.
"The Test door is certainly not shut on him. We know what Brett has got to offer. He has been one of the best bowlers in the world over the last two or three years. I've got no doubt he can get back into the side if he works hard enough to do it," he added.