Bowled over by Brett

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Bowled over by Brett

Born and raised in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australian speed bowler Brett Lee always had a love of sports. Coming from an athletic background, (his older brother Shane also played test cricket for his country) in his youth Brett tried his hand at many sports but like his brother cricket proved to be the one in which he excelled.

By David Light (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Sun 27 Jul 2008, 10:09 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

Brett LeeBrett had his first official game of the sport at the tender age of nine but quickly developed into a very talented player and progressed through the ranks. At the age of 24 made his debut for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against India in 1999.

Brett Lee achieved such a great deal in the first few matches of his career that he became not only the linchpin in the Australian team but revered worldwide as an awesome cricketing talent. He was awarded the prestigious title of the Young Player of the World in 2000. His best Test bowling figures of five for 30 came against the West Indies at The Gabba, Brisbane in 2005. In 2007-08 he was recognised as the “Best Test Player of the Year”. He is known throughout the cricketing world as one of the fastest and most exciting pace bowlers to play the game.

Brett has been one of the players who has embraced the Indian Premier League and lit up stadiums with the quickness of his delivery and solid batting. In his first season of IPL he sported the Kings XI Punjab’s colours but had to leave the tournament mid-way to be a part of Australia’s tour of West Indies. In his short stint at the IPL he brought down 4 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 28 runs per wicket and an economy rate of 7 runs per over. Outside cricket Brett is a keen musician and has his own rock band named, ‘Six and Out.’ He has recorded a number one single with legendary Indian singer Asha Bhonsle where, in some parts, Brett gives the audience a chance to hear him sing in his second language Hindi. Mr Lee’s acting skills have recently been put to the test whilst filming the Bollywood picture ‘Victory,’ a cricketing movie released in November, where Brett plays himself.

City Times spoke exclusively to the idolised bowler during his visit to Dubai as brand ambassador for TIMEX where he unveiled the new T-Series of watches.

Brett, who’s the best cricketer you have ever played with?

Probably Steve Waugh. His love of the game and of its history, his knowledge and the way he wishes to preserve the history of the game is very special. He was the first player to make people aware and take special pride in the baggy green cap so he was a hero of mine and a mentor.

Which player from years gone by would you liked to have played with?

I would have enjoyed playing with Dennis Lillie. I just like his outlook on the game. He always played with the right spirit. He always enjoyed off the field chat with everyone but also had his head right on the field. If you talk to people that played with him I realise that he structured his life the same way I try to do mine. I would have liked to have bowled in tandem with him. Once you cross that white line it’s game on. I don’t care if someone on the field offended me last week, you have to be professional and win and then shake hands afterwards. That’s how he played; he always gave his two bobs worth.

Which fixtures stand out for you?

There’s two series now that we enjoy playing. The first is probably against England in the Ashes. 2005, I really enjoyed and 2007 I loved. To go back in 2009 with a bit more experience under my belt is really exciting. The second is playing India in India. Playing at the great venues with a packed 100 000 crowd and thousands more trying to get in, makes it a brilliant place to play.

How was the experience of playing in the Indian Premier League?

Playing for the Punjab King’s XI was incredible. It was a great place to play cricket. The thing that inspired me and that I really enjoyed about playing in that tour was the fact that the great cricketers I have played against over the last ten years I now play alongside. Great players that you admire now give you high fives when you bowl someone out and it’s something that you just think will never happen. I think it’s great for cricket, I think it’s great to bring cultures together. I think we learn a lot about the way that we actually go about our business. We’re all different but the way that we get together and try and win is something special.

How do you think the new English Premier League will impact the cricket scene?

I don’t know yet as I haven’t read a lot into it. I know it’s going to create a lot of opportunities for some other players but at this point in time it’s pretty raw to me so I’ll just wait and see what happens.

Moving to your artistic career your new movie ‘Victory,’ how did you find working on a Bollywood set?

It was a good experience. It was done throughout the last season between the first, second and third tests. A film about cricket and I’m playing myself so I’m hoping I came across pretty natural! It was good fun and what I’ve always tried to do in life is challenge myself and this was a new challenge. Your family comes first and then cricket but acting is new to me yet it was something I really enjoyed. I only had a few lines here and there but I loved it. We’ve been talking about doing a film for a few years but I said I’d only do one about things that I enjoy. There’s no point me getting into a pure Hindi film as I don’t know much about it and not speaking fluent Hindi it would only increase the difficulty so I think this is a perfect stepping stone to possibly getting into more films.

Did you speak a little Hindi in this film?

Torra, torra. A little bit.

Your single with Asha Bhonsle, ‘You’re the one for me,’ reached number one, did you expect it to that well?

It was purely done because the chance somehow came about to work with Asha and that’s like walking into LA and saying I want to do a song with Aretha Franklin. In India these things happen if you play sport. We did the song and the video and about four weeks later I got a call saying it had debuted at number six and I just asked how? It was purely done because I like music. It wasn’t for financial gain, it was a bit of fun. After a while it got to number one and I had all these people calling me saying it was being played on radio stations in Australia which was cool. My love of music comes from my mum I think. She played piano so we always had one growing up. My brothers play instruments and I didn’t want to be left out so I got a bass guitar and learnt to play it.

You’ve revealed that you’re starting up a new band in India, can you give us any more details?

I’ve played with my rock band in Australia, ‘Six and Out,’ for about five or six years. It’s been great but it’s difficult to get us all together at the moment because we travel. We still do the odd charity gig here and there. The new band I’m starting in India is myself and a mate of mine. We’re currently writing a song but I can’t give too much away. We’re writing a song for a film. The band will just release stuff in India to start with but will hopefully go to Australia and maybe the UK but that’s all I can really say.

What has the reaction been from your teammates to your music and movie career?

On the whole it’s been great. If anyone has a go at you or tries to sledge you, you know they’re just jealous anyway so you just ignore it. I have a passion for these things and I enjoy doing them. The guys have been really good though. I haven’t heard anything bad, they’ve been really positive. In India the response is great.

Is India your second home, and how do you deal with the reaction from the fans there?

Definitely I see it as my second home and even now in Dubai, I do a little bit of stuff here too. I have a lot of work over in India with cricket and of course with TIMEX. I only get involved with companies I believe are the best. They are a brand I believe in and they’ve given me a lot of freedom to travel and work with them at a time when they are at number one. I don’t see myself as being different from any other person. In Australia people might come up and shake your hand but they leave you alone. In the sub continent it is completely different. Two years ago three or four thousand people turned up for a launch in just a normal sized shop. There were so many that the front window actually burst. I was worried because the last thing I wanted was for someone to get injured but as it turned out everyone was ok. That’s the thing in India, even if there is a massive amount of people wanting an autograph or something everyone is so friendly you never feel threatened. It’s such a beautiful country and the people are so friendly, they just love cricket. That’s the difference between them and the Australians. Australians admire cricket but Indians adore it, it’s really powerful.

What do you think of Dubai as a venue for international cricket?

It’s a bit hot outside at the moment but it is a great venue. We have played here, back in 2002 against Pakistan, and it was great. Provided you take the right time of the year and with the way the city is growing it is going to be massive here. There is the right amount of expats to make it really exciting. Providing they get the right infrastructure in place I think the region has a great draw for all types of cricket.

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