Australia paceman Brett Lee, who was the world’s fastest bowler at his peak, said he’s quitting international cricket after a 13-year career.
Lee, 35, said in an interview with Australia’s Channel Nine today that retirement had “been in the back of my mind for a few months,” and that he had planned to retire after the World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka in September and October.
“I woke up this morning after sleepless and restless night and realized this was it,” Lee said at a later news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground. “You get to a point in your life when you decide enough is enough.”
Lee’s announcement comes four days after he was forced to return home from Australia’s one-day series in England because of a right calf strain, the latest injury of an international career during which he’s had more than a dozen operations. He’ll continue to play in the domestic Big Bash and Indian Premier League Twenty20 competitions.
He leaves the national team second on the list of Australian one-day wicket-takers with 380, one behind Glenn McGrath. Lee claimed 310 wickets in 76 Tests, the fourth-most for Australia, before quitting elite five-day cricket almost 2 1/2 years ago to prolong his career in the shorter formats.
Lee, who delivered the ball at speeds close to 150 kilometers per hour (93mph), also played 25 Twenty20 internationals, taking 28 wickets.
His deeds inspired children to take up the sport and bowl fast, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said in a statement.
“His record as a wicket-taker and leader of the attack is fantastic and speaks for itself, but his resilience and ability to bounce back after numerous injuries has also been impressive,” Sutherland said.
Lee declined a contract with the Sydney-based New South Wales state team last month, declaring his intention to win an upgrade to a Cricket Australia deal by playing enough one-day and Twenty20 matches for the national squad.
His final game for Australia came last week in Durham, England, where he hurt his calf while playing in his 221st one- day international. He said he wondered as he was clapped off whether it would be his last appearance for his country.
“There’s still the Big Bash, there’s the IPL,” Lee told reporters today. “I’m not totally losing my cricket thrill or the chance to play. Obviously it won’t be for the Australian cricket team, which will be sad, but I know I’ve made the right call.”
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