Tag: Brett Lee

Why we liked Brett Lee

Stop it!

Test bowling average v England: 40.61 – what’s not to like?

Yes, it’s one of those weird statistics, but Brett Lee actually wasn’t all that destructive in the Ashes. There was theatre and tension every time he came onto bowl, but all that happened was that the batsman thought: “Ooh, something’s happening here. Better sharpen up.” Maybe the adrenaline helped them cope.

Because there was adrenaline for all of us. That was Brett Lee’s main attribute: he was undeniably a fast bowler. He was skilful, yes, but pace was his defining quality. Not the half-arsed, fly-by-night, four-over pace of a Shaun Tait, either. This wasn’t gym muscles pace. It was sustained pace borne of athleticism and that weird mentality found in only true fast bowlers.

Fast bowling isn’t just about speed. It’s about scaring people. It’s about looking like you’re genuinely trying to hurt them and sometimes succeeding. It’s also about sacrificing your own body to achieve that aim. Fast bowlers have a primal blood lust that monopolises their minds and all other thoughts and considerations cease to exist when they run in to bowl.

Fast bowling is amazing. Simply handing the ball to someone like Brett Lee in the middle of a sleepy afternoon session is enough for people to put the newspaper down and start watching. Fast bowlers bring corners and U-turns to predictable narrative, so you HAVE to pay attention.

If you can be a fast bowler, provide all of that and yet not actually do all that much to help Australia win the Ashes, you are absolute gold.

Brett Lee’s Test career

Brett Lee cautiously makes an enquiry

Like Andrew Flintoff, Brett Lee’s had to jack in proper cricket because his body’s had it. Fast bowling’s a mug’s game, but anyone who’s seen our Too Cool mug or our robot mug knows that we love mugs.

In many ways, Brett Lee was the perfect Australian fast bowler. He was a proper, 96mph, charge-to-the-crease, rip-your-shoulder-out-of-its-socket fast bowler who was stunning to watch, yet when he played England he barely took any wickets. Perfect.

Quick bit of stats – skip this if you want

He took more Test wickets against England than against anyone else bar the Windies, but he took them at an average of 40, which is toss. In England, he averaged 45 and went at over four an over. England fans could watch his electric bowling and yet be comforted by the fact that their side were cracking on at pace.

How fast was Brett Lee?

Yeah, past tense. He might still be available for one-day internationals and Twenty20s, but when you stop playing Tests you’ve already got one foot in a slipper and you’re reaching for the RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening.

Brett Lee was proper fast. He generally bowled around 94mph/150kph and the key part is that he maintained this. He wasn’t a bowler who put in the odd surprisingly quick ball. He wasn’t a bowler who got over 90mph on a good day. He pounded in and on a good day he was heading up towards 100mph. He crossed that line where batsmen go from worrying whether they can react quickly enough to outright shitting themselves.

10/10 for effort

We can’t imagine how much it must have hurt. Not just when he was bowling, but when he was 32 and trying to come back and bowl as quickly as he ever did. Fast bowlers are cussed bastards.

That cussedness showed in his batting as well. It’s easy to overlook, but he played as big a part as anyone in the creation of the greatest passage of cricket that we can remember – the climax to the 2005 Edgbaston Ashes Test. In getting tenderised like cheap meat by Andrew Flintoff, he showed that he could get as good as he gave, but nothing would sway him from his impossible task. It was as impressive an innings as we’ve ever seen; the mental fortitude better highlighted by his limitations as a batsman.

Whatever the result of that match – no matter how England supporters fetishise that climactic moment – that morning showed why Test match cricket is the greatest sport on earth and we have to thank Brett Lee for that.

Probably not one of Brettles' favourite moments

Brett Lee can bat

Brett Lee doing Christ knows what - it's certainly not bitingWe knew this.

Lee hit 48 off 31 balls, which went a long way towards helping New South Wales win the Champions League Twenty20. He took a couple of wickets too.

We’re not sure that ‘wanting him in Australia’s Test side’ is really acceptable, so we’re not going to tell you that’s how we feel. It will be a guilty secret which can nestle alongside ‘we fried and ate some chicken skin the other day’.

Brett Lee’s reverse swing yorkers

Brett Lee aims for the right area on middle stumpIt doesn’t matter that it’s only a one-day international at the arse end of the season. It doesn’t matter that it’s an Australian against England. The simple fact is, proper fast bowling is a fantastic sight.

Brett Lee bowled reverse swing yorkers at 95mph. It was just like Waqar Younis and there is no higher praise than that on this website.

Sod researching the batsman’s weaknesses. Sod setting him up. Sod building pressure. Sod putting the ball in the right areas. Sod setting the right field.

Just run in, bowl it as fast as you can, reverse swing it and knock the bloody stumps out the ground.

How old is Brett Lee?

Look at Brett Lee - he's radical, dudeBrett Lee is nearly 33, but he’s tried to obscure this fact by getting a spiky haircut.

Unfortunately, spikiness is only considered a youthful hair quality among the middle-aged, so Lee’s made an error here. It’s the kind of hair that looks like it should have a Global Hypercolour T-shirt underneath it – and in fact, in that one-day kit, it pretty much does.

That said, he’s still bowling at 95mph, so he’s not quite ready to embrace caravan holidays just yet.

Brett Lee chasing the birds

From the BBC:

“Liam Plunkett was cleaned up by Lee for a breezy 34. The dismissal sparked a bizarre incident when a seagull swooped on one of the dislodged bails, escaping with its plunder with Lee in hot pursuit.”

Many people would let the bird have the bail and gone and got another one – but not Brett Lee. It’s a matter of principle.

Never let it be said that Brett Lee is soft on avian crime.

Chris Gayle is awesome at Twenty20

Which road shall I hit this into?Amid all the furore when Chris Gayle said he wouldn’t be all that sad if Test cricket died, one key fact slipped into the background: Chris Gayle is phenomenally good at this form of the game. Why wouldn’t he prefer it?

Gayle is an exceptional Twenty20 batsman. Arguably the best of the lot. If you’re the best at something, generally speaking, you’re going to like it.

It was only last night that England were humiliated by the Netherlands. Today, all that was forgotten in the warm euphoria of watching Chris Gayle hit Brett Lee a long, long way out of The Oval; so far you needed to pan out three times on Google Maps to have half a chance of seeing where the ball landed.

Gayle hit three towering sixes off one Lee over and the very best part is what he did immediately after each one: absolutely sod all. He just stood there blank-faced as if he’d just let one through to the keeper. Business as usual.

Brett Lee is a liar

Brett does some FIENDISH aerobics or somethingBrett Lee’s been caught out in an EVIL and WICKED lie. We always knew that genial smile concealed unparalleled deviousness:

“We’ve got the Ashes coming up as well which we are not directly looking forward to right now because we have a few things in place that we have to take care of first,” he said. “I would be lying if I didn’t say I was looking forward to the Ashes next year.”

Don’t give us that ‘I’m looking forward to it, I’m just not directly looking forward to it’ crap. You’ve told a lie and said as much yourself.

He’s crossed a line.

Before you know it he’ll be violently mugging the elderly for their fetching taupe-coloured clothing.

Brett Lee’s actually good nowadays

Please turn shit againStuart Clark got the better figures, 4-28 and got the best batsmen out, but the story’s about Brett Lee today. He took his 250th Test wicket, but there’s more than that.

This is Australia’s third Test since Warne and McGrath retired and every time Australia’s opponents have batted, Brett Lee’s taken four wickets. 4-26, 4-86, 4-82, 4-87 and now 4-46. It’s increasingly difficult to overlook the fact that suddenly, with infuriatingly immaculate timing, Brett Lee’s a great bowler.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that he’s always been a great bowler, but he actually hasn’t. Those 250 wickets have come at an average of over 30, which is by no means bad, but it’s a long walk from the 21.62 that Glenn McGrath boasts. It’s even inferior to Matthew Hoggard’s 247 wickets at 30.01. Matthew Hoggard’s an excellent and well-respected bowler, but people never think he’s got a better record than Lee.

It’s particularly puzzling that English people are terrified of Brett Lee. We’ve always been quite keen on seeing him turn his arm over in Ashes contests. He’s taken 62 wickets at 40 against England. That’s crap.

But those glory days look long-gone now. For some reason, at the age of 31, when pace should be beginning to desert him (and Lee’s a bowler who’s all about pace), when it seemed he might never push on after years in the Australia side, at the exact moment it was most needed, he’s come good. That’s what can happen if you invest in a player.

A lot of nations identify promising youngsters, but they get so carried away that they keep on doing it, creating a team of perpetual promise, but never the experience that should ensue. The trick is to identify the right player and STICK WITH THEM.

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