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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Lee fails to impress the men who matter

Tony Lawrence | March 19, 2003 14:46 IST

According to the men who matter at the World Cup, Australia's strike bowler Brett Lee is over-rated.

No more than a medium-paced pie-thrower, really.

Before the World Cup semi-finals, Lee was equal ninth in the race for the man-of-the-tournament award, with fewer than half the points awarded to India's Sachin Tendulkar.

Canada's John Davison, an off spinning all-rounder who left for home some two weeks ago after one scintillating century and several entertaining cameos, was one of the men still ahead of Lee on that list.

The 26-year-old New South Welshman, indeed, tall and blond and hard to miss, has yet to win a man-of-the-match award.

Taking five New Zealand top-order wickets for three runs in 15 balls, effectively killing off that Super Six encounter and sending the Kiwis home before the semi-finals, was not good enough.

Nor was his hat-trick, the first by an Australian in a World Cup, without conceding a run against Kenya.

Brett LeeLee, so approachable off the field, shrugged off that decision.

"I'm not bowling for personal things," he said, with his trademark boyish grin. But his captain, Ricky Ponting, was flabbergasted and less forgiving.

In his first game against the Sri Lankans, Lee shredded the top order with a burst of three wickets for one run in 11 deliveries. He also sent Sanath Jayasuriya to hospital with a chipped thumb and bruised forearm (he was to inflict similar damage to Kenya's Kennedy Otieno).

However, his skipper Ricky Ponting scored a century and took the plaudits.

On Tuesday, in the semi-finals, he did it again.

At 22 without loss in the fifth over, chasing a meagre 213 for victory in Port Elizabeth, Jayasuriya's men had cause for optimism.

Lee then uprooted Marvan Atapattu's off stump with a 160.1 kpm thunderbolt, punching repeatedly at the floor in delight. "That started it off," said Ponting.


Lee kept Jayasuriya honest by peppering his ribcage and cracking him on the elbow, had Hashan Tillakaratne caught behind and then removed Avishka Gunawardene, fencing to the slips, as Sri Lanka collapsed to 45 for four.

Wicket to wicket, Lee took three for 17 in 24 balls, in the process equalling Shane Warne's Australian record of 20 wickets in a single World Cup.

Lee hasn't just caused inroads, he has ripped the heart out of Australia's opponents. He removes specialist batsmen rather than picking up tail-enders on the cheap. Games look alive and then suddenly, a few balls and a few bemused batsmen later, they aren't.

Australia recognise Lee's true value, even if World Cup adjudicators have not.

Lee took five for 30 in the second final of a tri-series event on home turf against England in January and was promptly named both man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series.

On Tuesday, he was pipped by Andrew Symonds's excellent 91 not out, which gave Australia a total to defend.

Ponting was delighted with Symonds's knock -- "he played beautifully, he has done so all tournament" -- but he had some praise for Lee as well before Sunday's final.

"The way Brett is bowling is outstanding. Let's hope he's got one more big game in him."

© 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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Number of User Comments: 3

Sub: lee really tears the line up

Brett lee has surely impressed with his bowling.He has tore the batting line ups of almost all countries that he has played against in this ...

Posted by Priya

Sub: Take man-of-match out of consideration

The points system for the man of series is a big joke. Take a moment to look to see who's in the race. After Tendulkar ...

Posted by Vamsi

Sub: No recognition for Lee

Could it be that the ICC has discreetly told match referees to avoid giving awards to those bowlers whose action is doubtful?

Posted by Chandrashekhar


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