Shalini Gupta

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‘Incredible to survive ten long years in Test cricket’

In a candid chat with the media, the 33-year-old talks about the reasons for announcing his retirement from Test cricket, Kings XI Punjab's chances in IPL-III, Tendulkar and the memorable moments in his Test career spanning 10 years.

Clad in a Kings XI Punjab jersey and shorts, the Australian speedster Brett Lee is the cynosure of all eyes at the Sector 16 Stadium. Cricket fans circle the Aussie legend to get a close view and take his autograph. Lee looks all pumped up for the IPL challenge. Back after an elbow injury, Lee will be an important cog in the Punjab side.

 

Lee, who was part of the Australian team that won three World Cups and with 310 Test scalps in 76 outings, shocked the world recently when he announced his retirement from Test cricket.

 

In a candid chat with the media, the 33-year-old talks about the reasons for announcing his retirement from Test cricket, Kings XI Punjab's chances in IPL-III, Sachin Tendulkar and the memorable moments in his Test career spanning 10 years.

 

Excerpts:

 

You are coming into IPL-III with an elbow injury. What is the status of your injury now?

 

The injury is healing very well. In order to get into the groove ahead of the IPL, I am in Mohali a week before the IPL kicks off for Kings XI Punjab. I have been bowling in the practice nets under the supervision of our physiotherapist Patrick Farhat. Let's see how things work out. However, I am not sure whether I will be playing the first match or the second one.

 

Do you think you could have prolonged your Test career if there was no T-20 cricket?

 

I think T-20 has created more opportunities that are great for cricket. In my case, the decision to take retirement was due to lifestyle reasons. Test cricket is definitely more demanding and time consuming. I have a little son back home. So, I really do not want to be away from him 11 months a year. Secondly, Test cricket does take toll on the body. In order to continue playing in different championships, I had to make the decision.

 

How difficult it was to announce retirement from Test career?

 

It was very difficult to make the decision. It was after months of deliberations with my family and close friends that I could come to the conclusion. It did not happen overnight. With more than 10 years of Test career under my belt I do not regret the decision at all.

 

I mean having playing along side Australian legends like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting and the Waugh brother is a tremendous feat. Moreover, we dominated throughout the decade. So I feel quite content with the way my Test career went off.

 

How do you look back at your cricket career?

 

Ah (smiles), there is a sense of achievement and satisfaction when I look at my Test career. Last ten years have been quite good for me. Having being the second most bowled fast bowler after Glenn McGrath for Australia in the last ten years is an amazing thing. I could never imagine I could take over 300 Test wickets. It's incredible having survived for ten long years as a fast bowler.

 

Which Test performances are memorable for you?

 

First, my Test debut against India in Melbourne in 1999 when I took five wickets in the first innings, while second would be when I took my 300th wicket against the Kiwis.

 

How do you see Kings XI Punjab's chances in the coming IPL?

 

With Kumar Sangakkara coming in as our new captain will give Yuvraj Singh a breather. He can concentrate on his form as he is a valuable player for us. Then we have some blazing batsmen like Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Katich, Yuvraj and few others coupled with some amazing bowlers. Moreover, the young brigade that we have will further strengthen the side. We have gelled well and I guess we will have a good outing.

 

What are your thoughts on Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar?

 

He is a class apart. It is always a treat to watch him bat. He did surprise everyone with his unbeaten knock of 200 in ODI. But the time will come when he also retires from cricket, maybe in few months or years. I do not know when but when it happen it will be difficult for the fans to take that. It will be a huge loss.

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