Australian pace bowler Brett Lee announced his retirement from international cricket after a 13-year career, saying his body and mind were no longer up to the stresses of touring.
The 35-year-old said a calf muscle strain that forced him home from Australia’s recent one-day tour to Britain was the final straw after a string of setbacks caused by injuries.
“I woke up this morning and just felt like I was ready,” said Lee, adding his original plan had been to play at September’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka as his international swansong.
“I think personally in a team environment you have to have 100% commitment — mentally and physically. And 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… you get to the point in life where you say enough is enough.”
Lee’s calf injury was the latest in a long line of injuries that punctuated his playing career, of 310 Test wickets at 30.81 from 76 matches and 380 One-Day International scalps at 23.36 from 221 matches. He also endured side strains, a broken toe, ankle issues, stress fractures to his back, persistent elbow problems and appendicitis.
Intends to continue playing IPL, T20 events
Lee, who has signalled his intention of continuing to play in the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash, was not offered a national contract in Cricket Australia’s latest round of agreements. The fast-bowler then decided not to take up a deal with his state side, New South Wales, for this coming summer.
Lee said while he had enjoyed his cricket career, he was tired of being away from home for long periods and was looking forward to a different phase of his life.
“It’s been a fantastic career and I’ve loved every minute of it, but it’s stage two of my life now. My holiday will be at home — I’m sick of being away. I just want to maybe do some fishing and just chill out for a few months.”
Lee retired from Tests in February 2010 as Australia’s fourth-highest Test wicket-taker but played on in one-day and Twenty20 cricket up until Friday’s announcement.
Sutherland pays tribute to Lee
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland paid tribute to Lee’s contribution to Australian cricket and as an inspiration to youngsters to take up the game.
“His record as a wicket-taker and leader of the attack has been fantastic and speaks for itself but his resilience and ability to bounce back after numerous injuries has also been impressive,” said Sutherland.
“On top of this, and this is a significant part of his legacy, Brett inspired young Australians to play cricket and bowl fast.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.
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