Impressive Lee far from finished, tips Haddin
BRETT Lee is not on his last l egs as an i nternational bowler.
That is Australian wicketk e e p e r B r a d H a d d i n ’ s opinion as pace spearhead Lee wrestles with the prospect of extending his career beyond the World Cup.
While he has been a revelation since his return to Aust ralia’s one-day side six weeks ago, Lee turns 35 in November and accepts his body is a year-by-year propo s i t i o n a f t e r i n c e s s a n t battles with a slew of injuries.
Haddin is not pressuring Lee to play on, but says his recent form is evidence the Blues tearaway can still compete at the highest level.
‘‘ I think he’s been outstanding," Haddin said ahead of Australia’s third match of the World Cup against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.
‘‘ He’s got his pace back and his first game back for Australia against England ( in the one-day series in January) was outstanding.
‘‘ That ( Lee playing on beyond the World Cup) is somet hing no one has really talked about. Our main focus is being very competitive at this World Cup, it’s too early for anyone to see what the such a long time is a credit to his workload."
L e e h a s l e f t n o s t o n e unturned in a bid to extend his international career. He hired a personal trainer as part of his resurrection and has been buoyed by the return of Pakistan speed merchant Shoaib Akhtar, who turns 36 in August and is determined to play on after the World Cup.
Sri Lanka’s Australianborn coach Trevor Bayliss, who mentored Lee at NSW, says the 76-Test veteran is far from being washed up.
‘‘ Brett’s had a lot of injuries but in one way the amount of time he has missed is why he’s still going," Bayliss said.
‘‘ He’s had a few breaks because of injury, he’s always been a guy who is very fit and he’s very driven to get what he wants. He’s a quality player."
Haddin, meanwhile, i nsisted the Australians remained the top dogs of oneday cricket despite critics giving them next to no hope of clinching a fourth World Cup.
Ricky Ponting’s side has won nine of its last 10 oneday clashes, including a recent 6-1 series thumping of England.
‘‘ If you look at our one-day cricket, we’re No. 1 in the world for a reason," Haddin said. ‘‘ We’re a very good oneday outfit and we’ve showed that for a long time.’’