Under-pressure Lee turns up at Kotla

Brett Lee turned up at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Friday to get a hang of the ground which hosts the third Test against India from October 29.

updated: October 24, 2008 13:56 IST
  • Total Shares

New Delhi:

Told by captain Ricky Ponting to crank up the same searing pace which made him one of the most lethal bowlers around, beleaguered Australian speedster Brett Lee turned up at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Friday to get a hang of the ground which hosts the third Test against India from October 29.

Lee has been off-colour in the series, so much so that captain Ricky Ponting preferred change bowler Mitchell Johnson, debutant Peter Siddle and rookie spinner Cameron White over him in the morning session on day four of the Mohali Test, which led to a public argument between the captain and his pace spearhead.

Lee spent a couple of hours at the Kotla during which he rolled his arms in the nets before leaving the ground without any interaction with anyone.

The pressure is mounting on Lee after Ponting said that the pacer would have to be at his fiery best if the visitors, trailing the four-match series 0-1, are to bounce back.

"Because he's been a bit underdone he's been bowling a bit at half-and three-quarter pace at training, concentrating on his technique trying to do everything right," Ponting told 'The Australian'.

"But by doing that he's probably taught himself to bowl slow. For the next week he'll be doing that dynamic stuff. When he bowls at training he'll be bowling off his long run to train that back into his body again," Ponting said.

So while his teammates were relaxing in the comfort of their hotel rooms, Lee headed for Kotla to get a hang of things.

Lee so far has managed just four wickets in as many innings and his rusty form is attributed to his personal problems following his marriage break-up, because of which the bowler took a month off.

In order to help him strike form, fitness adviser Stuart Karppinen has come up with a programme comprising 11 varied sessions, the daily said.

Karppinen admitted Lee had lost his speed and said, "Because of his personal circumstances, he hasn't done the same volume of work and we want to try to build that up.

"He's at 95 per cent and bowling in the mid-140s (km/h) but we want him to be able to crank that up. He's lost speed and condition," he said.

On the special programme for Lee, Karppinen said, "We want to mimic the movements that happen when he bowls. We're trying to promote speed."

What puts more pressure on Lee is Ponting's suggestion that in case he fails to hit his peak, the team would consider a different role for the speedster.

"We'll have to look at how to get him to bowl in the Test if he can't bowl express. He'll have to play another role for us," Ponting said.

"If you look at his spells in the game it's probably been his first-up spell that's been his worst. When he's come back he's settled into a line and length," he added.

Citing the instance of Zaheer Khan, Ponting said, "As we've seen with Zaheer Khan in this series, you don't have to bowl at 140 or 150 (km/h) to bowl guys out.

"If you put the ball on the spot and ask enough questions you can sometimes get the answer you're after. We'll have a better idea in the coming days," the Australian captain said.