Fast-recovering Lee focused on the Ashes

Brett Lee said he hoped to be at his best in time for the Ashes, saying he had the knowledge to be leading his team's bowling against England in two months

updated: April 30, 2009 17:00 IST
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Abu Dhabi:

Australia's spearhead Brett Lee said on Wednesday he hoped to be at his best in time for the Ashes, saying he had the knowledge to be leading his team's bowling against England in two months' time.

The 32-year-old, who has not played due to injury since last year's Boxing Day Test against South Africa, has been progressing well towards full fitness after ankle surgery in January.

He arrived in Abu Dhabi Tuesday and on Wednesday trained with the Australian squad, which is currently taking part in a limited-overs series against Pakistan.

Australian team doctor Trefor James said Lee would be monitored and may be considered for selection during the current tour.

Australia lead the series 2-1 after winning the second match in Dubai by six wickets Friday and the third match here Monday by 27 runs. Pakistan won the first match, in Dubai, by four wickets last Wednesday.

The remaining two matches will be played here on Friday and Sunday.

Lee said he was happy with his progress.

"I am really close (to full fitness)," he said after his session in the nets. "The main aim here is the Ashes, with all due respect to all other cricket.

"If I'm back to my best, which I hope to be doing, I don't see a problem at all (in being selected). Hopefully, my 10-year-career... will speak for itself -- provided I am fit, of course."

Lee was confident that he could still spearhead the Australian attack, despite the fast-rising star of Mitchell Johnson, who has been rested for the Pakistan series.

"Even though I've been out of the team for three months it doesn't make any difference, you've still got that same knowledge," said Lee, who has 310 Test wickets at 30.81 and 303 one-day wickets at 22.95 in his career so far.

"I'll be trying my best to be a team leader. Do I want to get back to that number one spot? Definitely.

"Yeah, I'm 32, but there's no reason why I can't bowl faster. I'm the fittest I've been in a long, long time, provided the ankle holds up," said Lee, regarded as the world's fastest bowler alongside Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar.

Lee had a miserable year last year after the breakdown of his marriage, and he struggled during Australia's defeat in a Test series in India.

He has managed only 21 wickets at an average of 47.80 in his last eight Tests.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen said Lee was progressing well.

"He (Lee) bowled in the nets but we will not play him on Friday," said Nielsen. "If he continues to progress well, we may consider him for the Twenty20 match."

Pakistan and Australia play the only Twenty20 match of their current series in Dubai on May 7.