Im­pres­sive Lee far from fin­ished, tips Haddin

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

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.’’

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