Lee disappointed with Australian pitches

"I've been really disappointed with the Australian pitches... The WACA and the Gabba have been flat, offering nothing for the quicks. What I'd like is to go back to the original wickets. The WACA is known to be the quickest wicket in the world. It's probably the slowest in the world at the moment."

Brett Lee asks Australia to produce more competitive pitches.   -  Ramesh Sharma

Brett Lee has a word of advice for aspiring fast bowlers when they encounter pitches like the ones rolled out in Perth and Brisbane this series: “Pray”. Lee, an uncompromising tearaway during his playing days, clarifies that he is not "simply being a grouchy ex-pro pining for the good old days."

“This is where I start crying,” he says at the Gabba, between spells in the commentary box. “I've been disappointed...really disappointed with the Australian pitches. I'm at the stage now where you can only say it so many times – you don't want people to think you're an ex-fast bowler wanting green pitches.

"We're not saying that. We just want something that's competitive. The WACA and the Gabba have been flat, offering nothing for the quicks. There's no sideways movement. There's three balls that missed the bat in the last innings. What I'd like is to go back to the original wickets. The WACA is known to be the quickest wicket in the world. It's probably the slowest in the world at the moment.”

This return to tradition is critical for the future of fast bowling, says Lee. “It's about preserving the character of the pitch and the ground, but it's about preserving the fast bowlers too,” he says.

“How do you expect a young bowler from India to learn how to bowl fast when there's no wickets to bowl fast on? How do you expect a young kid in Australia to want to bowl super quick when 300 is a par score? Three-hundred being the par score in one-day cricket means five bowlers go for 60 runs on average. That, when I grew up, wasn't one-day cricket.”

Lee says that bowlers should develop more variations when the conditions aren't very helpful. “You still run in to bowl quick; you won't get the bounce that we've seen, but you've got to be more skillful – slower balls, slower-ball bouncer, wide-yorker, straight-yorker, back of a length,” he says. “You've got to evolve.”

Lee praised India's new medium pacer Brainder Sran but felt that he should be quicker. “Sran looks like a really good bowler,” he says. “He's a tall left-armer, nice action, decent pace...he's still not that express pace yet but he's only 23. That (pace) will come as he gets naturally bigger, naturally fitter through his body.”

Cranking up that speed, however, is no simple task. “If it was easy to do everyone would be bowling at 150km an hour,” Lee chuckles.

“That comes with experience, confidence, knowing his body, and getting naturally stronger. It doesn't mean going in the gym. A little bit of gym work is okay but not too much. Getting naturally fitter (means) getting the miles in the legs from bowling in the nets. All that time bowling bowling bowling will naturally increase his pace.”