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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Lee no longer obsessed with being fastest

Julian Linden in Johannesburg | February 06, 2003 11:18 IST

Brett Lee has given up on his dream of displacing Shoaib Akhtar as the fastest bowler as part of a bold new plan to help Australia win the World Cup.

Lee is happy to let Shoaib hold the unofficial title as the world's quickest bowler so he can concentrate on improving his accuracy during the tournament.

Shoaib beat Lee to the magical 160 km/h barrier last year when he was timed at 161 km/h during a match in Lahore, while Lee had to settle for second best with a delivery clocked at 159.93 km/h in Cape Town.

"The 160 thing doesn't really worry me, I'd much rather go out there and take wickets," Lee said.

"If that 160 barrier was to be broken I'd be very impressed and very proud, but it's not on top on my Christmas list right now. I'd rather go out there and do well for Australia."

The two express bowlers, whose battle for pace supremacy has been going for several years, will almost certainly line up against each other when Australia take on Pakistan in the opening round of the World Cup.

The game will be played at the Wanderers Ground in Johannesburg where the high altitude and thin air help the quicks bowl even faster.

"When I was about 18 I used to just run in and not worry where the ball was going and just try and see how fast I was bowling," Lee said.

"But I think as I've got older I've matured, both as a person and a fast bowler, and I've reached a level where pace doesn't always count.

"There's great batsmen around that just don't worry about pace and can play pace very well so it's important that you do bowl that right line and length."

Lee has emerged as one of the trump cards in Australia's bid to retain the World Cup after a series of injuries and poor form caused him to lose his place in the Test side to Andy Bichel.

He was recalled for the fourth Ashes Test against England in December and quickly made up for lost time, spearheading Australia to victory over England and Sri Lanka in the triangular one-day series.

The 26-year-old thinks pace is still his main weapon, but the experience of being dropped taught him about the value of improving his accuracy.

"I've been trying to learn from people like Glenn McGrath. He can bowl about 145 km/h but mostly bowls around 130 km/h," Lee said.

"His record, though, just goes to show what you can do if you out the ball in the right place.

"But in saying that, pace is still my biggest asset and that's why I'm in the team and I'll continue to keep bowling fast."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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