Lee won't cut pace for longer career

Sacrificing pace for a longer career is not an option for Brett Lee despite the injury breakdowns he has endured.

updated: October 08, 2009 18:23 IST
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New Delhi:

Sacrificing pace for a longer career is not an option for Brett Lee despite the injury breakdowns he has endured and the Australian fast bowler on Thursday said he would work out a plan to sustain himself if it becomes too hard to handle.

A bowler, who has undergone four ankle surgeries since making his Test debut in 1999, Lee had to sit out of the entire Ashes series due to a rib injury only a few weeks ago.

But the 32-year-old player says nothing can force him to drop his speed.

"If you mean that I bowl outswingers at 130 kph, sorry that's not going to happen. I enjoy bowling fast and it means a lot to me to be the world's fastest bowler. If it happens that I am not going at 150 kph, then I will think of a plan B," Lee, who is here to play for New South Wales in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20, told reporters here.

"I have worked on my fitness. I love playing cricket. I still have the hunger at 30. I have the fire in my belly. I always judge my body on my speed. If the ball is coming at 150 kph, then it's fine and it seems fine right now," he said.

Lee said fast bowling is the toughest job in cricket but also a rewarding one.

"Fast bowling is a tough trade. It's the hardest job in the world but the rewards are also very satisfying. The wickets nowadays are conducive for fast bowling," he said.

"I am certainly trying my hardest. I am happy with the way I bowled in England. I am happy with my form," Lee said.

Since his comeback after recovering from the rib injury, Lee has been in fine form, doing well in the one-dayers against England and the just-concluded Champions Trophy.

And as he prepares for the Champions League Twenty20, Lee said he has one eye on the ensuing ODI series against India.

"It's going to be a tough tour, very challenging. It's a huge series (the seven one-dayers against India). We will play the Champions League Twenty20 and then focus on that series.

Australia versus India is always exciting. It's always a tough tour but a great tour," he said.

Asked about the acrimony that has become the trademark of India-Australia cricket series, Lee said the aggression is limited to on-field action and the players get along fine off it.

"As hard as we play on the field, as soon as the game is over, the sportsmanship is great. I love coming to India and so do all the other guys in the team. These are teams, which go hard at each other after crossing the white line but there are great friendships there as well," the bowler, who has a good rapport with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, said.

On whether the Aussies would have any security worries playing in India, Lee insisted that his team has no such concerns.

"We get guided on security every single day and I have never had any problem coming to India. I am happy to be here. I don't think any of the other guys have any such concern either," Lee said.

Looking back at Australia's Champions Trophy triumph a few days ago, Lee said his team played some decent cricket and got the rewards accordingly.

"I was very impressed with the way Australia played in the Champions Trophy in South Africa. We played decent cricket and played our best in the last match. It was a great moment for us to win the Champions Trophy," he said.

"We have got the experience and youth in Australian bowling. I got injured and missed the Ashes but Mitchell (Johnson) is going from strength to strength," he added.

On whether Test and one-day cricket would be able to sustain themselves in the face of the Twenty20 revolution, Lee said, "I think Test cricket is alive and well. It's the purest form of the game. We just have to make sure that we look after all three formats of the game."

Lee lauded skipper Ricky Ponting's leadership after a few debacles, including the Ashes loss to England.

"When you lose, the first person to get the blame is the captain and when you win, the first prize goes to the captain.

We are a side that backs its captain. We as a team will always stand by him (Ponting). He is a great captain, he hasn't got anything to prove to the media, he has proved himself on the field," he said.