Ireland bring in speed king Brett Lee to help bowlers

Brett Lee in action for Australia against Ireland in 2012
Brett Lee in action for Australia against Ireland in 2012

Brett Lee will aid Ireland’s World Cup preparations after agreeing a short-term deal with Cricket Ireland to act as their bowling coach during the warm-up period in Sydney.

The 38-year-old Australian cricket legend retired from all forms of cricket last month following the conclusion of the BBL final.

During a glittering career, Lee took 310 wickets in 76 Test matches, and in addition played 221 ODI’s, claiming 380 scalps.

Ireland Head Coach Phil Simmons is hoping two times World Cup winner Lee can pass on some of his considerable experience to the Irish attack.

“Brett Lee has a wonderful knowledge of fast bowling, and his special insight of Australian pitches will help give our bowlers further confidence ahead of their group matches.

“I’m sure all our bowlers will benefit from the experience that a two-time World Cup winner has accumulated, especially in the pressure situations of a global event.

“It’s a fanatstic opportunity for our bowlers to learn from a living legend and one I’m sure they’ll all benefit from.”

Ireland play Randwick Petersham in a 50 over friendly tomorrow (Friday) before official warm-up games against Scotland (Tuesday) and Bangladesh (Thursday).

Their first Group game is against the West Indies in Nelson on February 16th.

Meanwhile, Australia captain Michael Clarke continued his comeback from hamstring surgery with a successful appearance for a Cricket Australia XI yesterday, but feels he is not yet ready to play a one-day international.

The 33-year-old fielded for 32 overs, bowled two overs of left-arm off-spin and batted for 47 minutes – making 34 from 36 deliveries, including six fours – against a Bangladesh XI at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

He heads to Adelaide today to link up with his Australia team-mates ahead of the World Cup, but does not think he will make the line-up for Sunday’s first official warm-up match against India.

“The ideal world was to field for at least half the game,” he said. “I managed 32 overs, which was nice.

“The body feels good, I just got a bit more treatment now but I pulled up pretty well.

“I would have liked a few more runs.

“At this stage I don’t think I’m playing that match (against India). The plan is for me to join the boys in Adelaide, fly with the boys to Melbourne then play the practice match against the UAE (in Melbourne on Wednesday).”

Clarke’s official deadline to prove his fitness remains Australia’s second World Cup pool match, against Bangladesh on February 21 at the Gabba, and he is pleased with the progress he is making.

“I’ve been bowling for the past three weeks in the nets,” he said.

“The (CA XI) skipper (Ashton Turner) needed a couple of overs so he asked if I was happy to bowl and I was certainly happy to bowl a couple of overs there. Then to have a bat as well - it was another step forward.

“My opinion, I think there’s probably still a gap between where I am now and playing a one-day international for Australia.

“The fortunate thing is I’ve got plenty of time to close that gap.”

Australia begin their World Cup campaign against England in Melbourne on February 14.