Tired of battling one injury breakdown after another, Australian pacer Brett Lee is all set to announce his Test retirement on Wednesday after being persuaded to do so by good friend Andrew Flintoff.
According to a report in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, the 33-year-old Lee, nursing an elbow injury right now, discussed the matter with Flintoff and the star English all-rounder convinced him to give up the five-day format for a longer stint in ODIs and Twenty20s.
“A discussion with Andrew Flintoff has persuaded Brett Lee to retire from Test cricket, effective immediately. The Australian fast bowler, fourth on the all-time list of Australian wicket-takers, will announce this week his decision not to attempt a comeback from another serious injury,” the newspaper reported.
Lee, who spent most of the past year recuperating from injuries, has 310 wickets under his belt from 76 Tests since his debut in 1999.
The tearaway bowler is behind only Shane Warne (708), Glenn McGrath (563) and Dennis Lillee (355) in the highest Test wicket-takers’ list for Australia.
He sent down a 160.8km/h thunderbolt in 2005, which remains the fastest ever delivery bowled by an Australian and second fastest overall behind Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar (161.3km/h).
A winner of the Allan Border medal for being Australia’s best cricketer in 2008, Lee has not played a Test since the 2008 Boxing Day match here against South Africa.
He limped out of that match with a stress fracture of the foot and after playing in an ODI series and the Twenty20 World Championship in May-June post-recovery, he was once again laid low by an elbow injury.
A Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2006, Lee has been pondering Test retirement for quite some time now and had even admitted to a fear of never being able to bowl again.
Lee has reportedly told his teammates about the decision to quit Test cricket after discussions with Flintoff, who has himself given up the longer format to go freelance.
Lee is contracted to Kings XI Punjab in the lucrative Indian Premier League.
Immensely popular in both Australia and India, the affable pacer is a part-time musician and has even dabbled in acting, making a guest appearance in a Bollywood movie last year.
But for all his success both and off the field, the bowler has endured a series of painful surgeries for various injuries, including four on his ankle alone. He had described the recent elbow surgery as the most painful of his career.