Brett Lee: 'I never cut down on my pace'

Talking about fast bowling and injuries, Brett Lee said you have to be physically and mentally strong to perform at the top level. He also emphasised the importance of gym training for a fast bowler and said rather than using heavy weights, training with lightweights is important.

Lee singled out Jasprit Bumrah as the Indian bowler who has impressed him the most, “I like his action, it is different but he can get a lot faster if he fixes his front arm.”   -  R.Ravindran

Brett Lee was one of the few bowlers who genuinely bowled fast and never compromised on his pace. “I never cut down on my pace; I believe if you are there to bowl fast you have to bowl fast. If your top speed is 148 kph, you bowl at 148 kph. There is nothing exciting for me bowling at 138 kph,” former fast bowler said with a laugh.

He is in the city to mentor the TNPL side Ruby Kanchi Warriors, “I will first listen to what the players want to learn. I will also learn something from them and pass on my knowledge which I got from the likes of Glenn Mcgrath and Dennis Lillee,” he said.

Talking about fast bowling and injuries, Lee said you have to be physically and mentally strong to perform at the top level. “A lot of bowlers are getting injured due to over training as well as under training. Either teams get their bowlers to bowl till they hit the ground or they just bowl 20 balls.”

He also emphasised the importance of gym training for a fast bowler and said rather than using heavy weights, training with lightweights is important and with repetition so that you get stronger. “Fast bowling is all about the right technique and muscle mass.” Lee said.

With increasing cricket and workload for the fast bowlers, talks of having different attacks for different formats have been going around but Lee said he personally hated the resting period, “What happens is that a bowler plays three games and then rests for a game, another guy comes in a gets a five for. Then you think about bringing the rested bowler back or continuing with the same bowler. This is how doubt and insecurity creeps in a team,”

Lee singled out Jasprit Bumrah as the Indian bowler who has impressed him the most, “I like his action, it is different but he can get a lot faster if he fixes his front arm.”

But he also warned against any forced changes in the youngster’s action, “This works for him, you wouldn’t get a lot of bowlers bowling with this action, something like Tommo (Jeff Thompson) who bowled like a wound up spring. They have unique techniques which work for them. I like his pace and his aggression a lot,”

Talking about Australia’s leading bowler Mitchell Starc, Lee said he wants the left-arm quick to improve in Test matches “He has done well with the white ball, he has good pace and can swing it. He also has a great yorker. I would like to have him take that experience and aggression into Test cricket.”

He also talked about Australia’s struggles playing in the sub-continent, “It’s the turning wickets, they are not used to slow and low turning wickets. They need to learn as players, the more experience they get, the better they will become. Batsmen from overseas have traditionally struggled in these conditions,”

However, he emphasised that this doesn’t mean something is wrong with the pitches. When questioned about the preparation of wickets in India, Lee said: “In India, you get low, slow turning wickets. So I think India should go about preparing a wicket that way only. It’s not as if you’re suiting the Indian players but it’s just that you get that kind of wickets in India.”

Kohli is the best

Lee also heaped praise on Indian ODI captain Virat Kohli, “People say he is one of the best batsmen, I will say he is the world’s best batsman right now. I like his aggression. It’s on your face but not over the top. He puts his team first. He has an incredible technique. His only weakness was the fifth or the sixth stump line, but now he has checked that. He plays with total freedom and I love watching him play.”

He also said he was open to coaching in the future but that’s not something which is on his mind right now. “I am enjoying my role as a commentator and would like to continue with that for now,”

This being a season of biopics with both M. S. Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar coming out with one, Lee was asked which actor he would like to portray the role of Brett Lee in a biopic, “Leonardo Di Caprio,” he replied instantly with a laugh but said that he wouldn’t like to make a biopic on himself.