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Just on two years ago we offered you this. In the meantime, sure he came back and became the matchwinner he was always touted to be. His potential was being fulfilled, they said. Was it really? Or was Brett Lee simply riding on the coat tails of Glen McGrath and subsequently, benefiting from the unwarranted respect that opposition batsmen offered the Australian attack after the departure of Warne and McGrath?
The mind is the most potent weapon any sportsperson has. It can propel you to extraordinary heights or it bury you in a deluge of negativity and self-pity. Brett Lee's personal life has been plastered all over Sydney's tabloids. His marital problems have been sliced and diced ad nauseum. The question nobody has been able to answer, is whether he has really recovered from all his woes? I get the feeling even Brett Lee doesn't know.
Traditionally we at The Match Referee, have been severely disliked (this is a family website so I'm keeping it clean) by ageing and balding bowlers who used to be fast and couldn't bowl an outswinger if Imran Khan gifted them a tampered ball. We haven't quite worked out why, but we'll get back to you when we have it sussed.
I like Brett Lee, simply because he used to bowl fast and it took a lot of gumption to sing a corny love song with a 60-something grandma. As difficult as it will be for the Australian selectors to take this decision given the current state of their bowling attack, they must give Brett Lee a break.
Along with Matthew Hayden, Lee is clearly struggling more than the collective. The quiet swagger, the confident smile the ease and pace are quite clearly missing from his game. Every minute movement seems laboured, every sinew strained for the most trivial of outcomes. This is not the strike weapong the Australian cricket system manufactured and this is not the obsolete machine that will be useful to the Australian cricket team in the troubled years to come.
Some time away from the international grind is likely to bear large, juicy and naturally sweetened fruits for Australian cricket. Lee needs this time to go back to basics, reinvent himself in his old age and replenish his tanks of "love for the game".
All the greats have had to do it at some point or another in their careers. Brett Lee isn't even close to being a great cricketer yet - reason moreso, one would think, for him to be forced to do the needful.
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