6 greatest ODI fast bowlers of all-time: Brett Lee.
Fast bowling is a delightful phenomenon to watch, and when a bowler clocks in at about 150km/h or higher than 150km/h, it makes for some entertaining viewing for the audience. The late 1990s and, for most of the 2000s, the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Shane Bond, and Brett Lee aimed to bowl at around or even over 150km/h.
All three of them had their fair share of injuries throughout their career, and could have prolonged their careers if they cut down on pace. However, each bowler went against that notion. Out of the three, Shane Bond was the unluckiest one out of the three with injuries and had to retire in 2010 because of excessive injuries. The load was too much to handle. Akhtar had his injury and disciplinary issues. However, it was Lee who had the most success and established himself as one of the leading ODI bowlers of his time. His ODI career stats put him in a league of legendary One-Day-International Cricket players.
Brett Lee himself said that he enjoyed bowling in ODIs as he could bowl shorter spells and it wouldnít have as much as an effect on his bowling. Brett Lee changed the course of the game in many ODIs for his country. His performances with the white ball in hand were vital to helping Australia dominate cricket in the late 1990s and mid-2000s.
Lee had many surgeries and missed plenty of cricket because of his constant injuries. An ankle injury that happened during a training session in New Zealand a few weeks before the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies led to Lee missing that tournament. He retired in 2009 from Tests so that he could prolong his limited overs career. He retired from international cricket altogether in mid-2012.
The different phases of Brett Lee’s ODI Career:
If you want to see the best of Brett Lee, then watch his 2003 World Cup highlights. He was frightening to play, reaching speeds of 160km/h and above. He was scary to face for any opposition batsman. Speaking of 2003, Brett Leeís best phase of his ODI career was from 2000 to 2003. He played 73 ODIs during this phase, and picked up 137 wickets at an average of 21.43, a strike rate of 27.40, an economy rate of 4.69. In the other phases of his ODI career, i.e., from 2004 to 2007, and 2008-2012, he was solid with the ball. From 2004 to 2007, he played 87 ODIs, picked up 143 wickets, averaging 24.18, at a strike rate of 30.7, an economy rate of 4.71.
From 2008 to 2012, he played 61 ODIs, picked up 100 wickets, averaging 24.82, a strike rate of 30.20, an economy rate of 4.92. His overall ODI stats read 221 ODIs, 380 wickets at 23.36, a strike rate of 29.43, and an economy rate of 4.76 with 23 four-wicket hauls, 9 five-fors. His best figures were 5/22 against South Africa at the Telstra Dome, Melbourne, in 2006.
Lee’s Performances on the big stage:
The Australian ODI legend loved the big stage and delivered more often than not. Along with having the third most five-fors after Muttiah Muralitharan and Waqar Younis, Lee also has the best strike rate for bowlers with 300-plus wickets. Every time Lee got a 5fa, Australia won. In terms of victories, when Lee did well, Australia used to well, and on most occasions, they would win. However, when Lee had a bad day with the ball, Australia would more than likely have lost the game. In victorious causes, Lee picked up 297 ODI wickets at an average of 20.54 and a strike rate of 26.70. In losses, though, he picked up 63 wickets at an average of close to 40 in all 53 defeats in his ODI career.
Brett Lee ís 2003 World Cup campaign was brilliant with 22 wickets at 17.9 from his ten games. In 10 matches, Lee picked 22 wickets at an average of 17.90, a strike rate of 22.60, an economy rate of 4.73. His best figures in that World Cup of 5/42 came against New Zealand at the St George ís Park in Port Elizabeth. Speaking of New Zealand, Lee gave Australiaís trans-Tasman neighbours hell throughout his ODI career. In 28 ODIs against New Zealand, Lee picked up 52 wickets at an average of 20.98, a strike rate of 26.3, and an economy rate of 4.78. There was a spell of fast bowling against New Zealand, where Lee consistently clocked around 150km/h to 160km/h in a fast spell of fast bowling. The video is available on Robelinda2ís YouTube channel.
The Australian pace ace only averaged above 30 in two countries out of the 14 countries he played ODI cricket in, i.e., Zimbabwe and India. He only played one ODI in Zimbabwe, and that was in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup match against Zimbabwe.
He was the second highest wicket-taker in the 2003 World Cup and even picked up a hat-trick against Kenya in the Super 6 stage of the tournament. Speaking of World Cupís, Brett Lee did only play 2 World Cups, i.e., the 2003 and 2011 50-over ICC Cricket World Cups. Altogether, he played 17 matches in those 2 world cups, and picked up 35 wickets at 17.97, a strike rate of 23.57, an economy rate of 4.57.
In Champions Trophy ís, Lee is the 4th highest wicket taker in ICC Champions Trophy history. He was a part of 2 back-to-back successful ICC Champions Trophy campaigns for Australia. Lee won both the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy in India, and the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa. Lee played 16 Champions Trophy matches, and picked up 22 wickets at 26.86, a strike rate of 33.5, an economy rate of 4.79. His best bowling figures of 3/38 came against New Zealand at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy.
Other features of Brett Lee’s ODI career:
His bowling average went over 30 in 2012, which was his final year in his international career. Otherwise, in his 12 year ODI career, he averaged below in 11 years out of those 12 years. He only had an economy rate of over 5 in 2 years of his 12-year ODI career, i.e., in 2001 and 2012. Of bowlers to have picked up over 200 ODI wickets, only Mitchell Starc has a lower strike rate than Brett Lee (as of the 5th of October, 2022). Out of bowlers in the top 20 ODI wicket-takers of all-time, Brett Lee has the best strike and is the only bowler who has a strike rate lower than 30.
Brett Lee ís home and away performance was brilliant. Lee played 95 ODIs at home, and picked up 169 ODI wickets at 23.34 at an economy rate of 4.69, a strike rate of 29.86. His best figures at home were 5/22 vs South Africa at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne in 2006. Away from home, he played 126 ODIs, picked up 211 ODI wickets, at 23.37, a strike rate of 29.09, an economy rate of 4.82. His best away figures of 5/38 came against India at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur in 2006.
As shown by the above data and analysis, Brett Lee is one of the 6 greatest fast-bowlers to have ever played ODIs. He was a proven match-winner and won an ODI series nearly everywhere he played in his career. One of the many reasons Australia dominated throughout his ODI career was because of his brilliance with the ball. A pure athlete with an iconic run-up bowling action that could do a lot with the ball in hand. Brett Lee is one of the all-time greats of ODI cricket.