Brett Lee, an explosive Australian pace bowler, is known as one of the finest pace bowlers in the world. Lee is one of the foundations of the intimidating Australian pace attack of the 1980s, with a rare ability to bowl quickly and reverse swing in his arsenal.
Lee, who was born on November 8, 1976, was a cricket fanatic who aspired to be the world’s fastest bowler. He began his cricket career as a member of the Oak Flat Rats’ junior team.
After some outstanding results for Australian U-17 and U-19 squads, he eventually found his way into the New South Wales side.
Lee’s ability to bowl quickly amazed then-Australian Skipper Steve Waugh, resulting in his selection in the Australian squad to face India on tour. Lee made his mark on the big stage by taking seven wickets on his test debut in 1999, including a five-wicket haul in the first innings.
However, due to a string of injuries, he was forced to retire after just a year on the field.
Rise to glory
Lee made his ODI debut against Pakistan in 2000 and has since established himself as a core member of the pace attack.
In 2003, he wrote a new chapter in his cricketing career by taking 22 wickets in the World Cup, which helped Australia win the tournament. He also became the first Australian bowler to bowl a hat trick against Kenya.
Lee broke the 100-mile-per-hour barrier many times during his career, with his fastest time in ODIs being 161.1 km/h in 2005. Since 2003, Lee has been in the top ten ODI bowlers, reaching the pinnacle in 2006.
Under the dynamic Ricky Ponting’s captaincy, Lee prominently changed his bowling style, resorting to a fast burst of pace in brief spells or longish containing spells. This paid off quickly in the 2005 Ashes, with Lee making a respectable series and his runs down the order even assisting the team’s cause.
Following the retirements of Australian legends Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Lee admirably took over as the speed attack’s leader and was named Man of the Season in the Border-Gavaskar series in 2007-08.
Lee was named one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2008, as well as winning the coveted Allan Border Award. At the same time, Australia was going through a difficult rebuilding process, and Lee assured Australian dominance with many victories.
Unfortunately, Lee’s tale repeated itself in 2009, when he suffered another ankle injury and a side strain, effectively ruling him out of Ashes.
At the same time, he was up against a lot of young up-and-coming bowlers, particularly in tests. Lee withdrew from tests in February 2010 in order to extend his international career.
The pacer was instrumental in Australia’s run to the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals, where he emerged as the team’s leading wicket-taker with 13 wickets. Lee retired from international cricket on July 13, 2012, with 380 ODI wickets, which he shared with his bowling partner McGrath as Australia’s joint-highest total.
Following his retirement, Lee played for various T20 franchises around the world, including the IPL. In 2012, he played for Kolkata Knight Riders and was a part of the winning side.
Lee, a music fan with a strong connection to India, founded ‘Mewsic,’ a charitable foundation for underprivileged youth, in 2007. On and off the ground, the Australian pace bowler will always be a role model for aspiring young pace bowlers, not just for his bowling feats but also as a gentleman who played the game in the right spirit.