Brett Lee retired from international cricket yesterday, claiming he woke up this morning and decided “enough is enough.”
Lee says he can no longer offer the required commitment to succeed at the highest level after almost 12-and-a-half years of donning the Baggy Green.
The 35-year-old was expected to stand down following the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later this year but decided to bring it forward after questioning his appetite for battle.
“The last two or three nights I thought about it a lot,” Lee told Australia’s Channel 9. I woke up this morning and just felt like I was ready. 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. People can look back and say I tried my hardest every time I went on to the cricket field. You can look at the records and stuff but that doesn’t worry me, what I am proud of is my longevity.”
Lee flew home early from the tour of England — which concluded this week with Australia suffering a 4-0 humbling — due to a calf strain but will continue to play in limited-overs formats for New South Wales and in the Indian Premier League. “It’s now Stage Two of my life coming up so I’m pretty happy and pretty excited. My holiday will be at home, I’m sick of being away,” he added.
As he reflected on his career, Lee singled out the Edgbaston Test in the 2005 Ashes defeat to England — a match which featured the iconic handshake and embrace between victorious England bowler Andrew Flintoff and a disconsolate Lee — as one of many highlights.
He said: “There have been some great memories: Glenn (McGrath) getting a Test hat-trick; us winning the World Cup; the 2005 Test at Edgbaston when we lost by two runs. That was still one of my favourite Test matches to play in because of the way it was played... the spirit of the game.”
Lee retired from the Test arena in February 2010 after claiming 310 scalps at an average of 30.81 in 76 matches.
He continued to play ODI and Twenty20 cricket at both international and domestic level and, in the absence of the likes of McGrath and Jason Gillespie, spearheaded the pace attack in the 50-over format. Lee finished his one-day career with 380 wickets — one short of McGrath’s Australian record haul of 381 — from 221 matches at an average of 23.36 and an economy rate of 4.76.
He has been the elder statesman of the Australia attack in recent years and one of the team’s up-and-coming pace bowlers today praised Lee’s impact.
National selector John Inverarity said: “Today one of Australia’s most outstanding fast bowlers announced his retirement. The statistics only tell part of the story. Brett has been an absolute ornament to the game; a fine player, a fierce and brave competitor, a generous opponent and one who always upheld the highest standards of sportsmanship. He has been a cricketer in every sense of the word.”