Brett Lee: Australia fast bowler retires from international cricket

 

Australia fast bowler Brett Lee has retired from international cricket.

The 35-year-old returned home early from the recent one-day tour of England with a calf strain, the latest in a long line of injuries.

Lee quit Test cricket in February 2010 and exits the one-day arena with 380 wickets - one short of Glenn McGrath's record for an Australian - at an average of 23.36 from 221 matches.

Brett Lee's illustrious career

8 Nov 1976: Born in Wollongong, New South Wales

1999: Takes 5-47 on Test debut against India

2003: Takes two wickets as Australia beat India by 125 runs in World Cup final

2006: Named as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year

2006: Named in ICC Test and ODI Team of the Year

2007: Helps Australia complete 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England

2008: Wins Allan Border Medal for Australia's player of the year

Test career: 310 wickets, average 30.81, 76 matches

ODI career: 380 wickets, average 23.36, 221 matches

T20 career: 28 wickets, average, 25.50, 25 matches

"You get to the point in life where you say enough is enough," Lee said.

"The last two or three nights I thought about it a lot. I woke up this morning and just felt like I was ready."

He told Australia's Channel 9: "I think in a team environment you have to have 100% commitment, mentally and physically.

"I guess, looking at the next few months, I just didn't have that desire any more. It wouldn't be fair on me or my team if I went with that attitude."

At his peak, Lee was arguably the finest quick bowler in the world, and bowled the second-fastest recorded delivery of all time at 99.9mph in Napier, New Zealand, in 2005.

Born in New South Wales, Lee made his Test debut against India in 1999 and his one-day bow the following year.

Only six players have bettered Lee's tally of 380 ODI wickets. He also took 310 wickets at an average of 30.81 in 76 Tests, and 28 wickets at 25.50 apiece in 25 Twenty20 internationals.

He was a central figure in the Australia sides that dominated world cricket in the 1990s and 2000s, and won the World Cup in 2003 as well as three of the four Ashes series he took part in.

An ankle problem kept him out of Australia's triumphant 2007 World Cup campaign, while he also suffered toe, back, elbow and side problems throughout an injury-plagued career.

Brett Lee with Andrew Flintoff

My ribs were black and blue. I had a busted arm. He'd tried to kill me. Whoever won, we were going to end up in the changing rooms talking about the game. We were mates. That's Test cricket.

Brett Lee on his battle with Andrew Flintoff at Edgbaston in the 2005 Ashes

Lee was not offered a central contract in Cricket Australia's latest round of agreements, and turned down a deal with NSW  last month as he felt he would be available for only a handful of one-day matches.

He will continue to play domestic Twenty20 cricket for NSW and in the Indian Premier League.

Lee had hoped to play in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later this year, but his final appearance for Australia came in the fourth ODI against England at Chester-le-Street last week, when he took 0-12 off 2.2 overs in an eight-wicket loss before injury forced him off the field.

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted  : "Congrats on a great career @Brettlee_58  ... Would love to say it was great playing against you but it was frightening most of the time..."

Andrew Flintoff, the former England all-rounder who was involved in a memorable contest with Lee during the Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005, tweeted:  "The game has lost one of its few gentlemen. For all my bravado I never did like him trying to hit me on the head."

Australia national selector John Inverarity said: "Today one of Australia's most outstanding fast bowlers announced his retirement.

"The statistics only tell part of the story. On top of this, and this is a significant part of his legacy, Brett inspired young Australians to play cricket and bowl fast."