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'I still have five years left in me'

December 07, 2008 15:22 IST

Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee has scotched all theories about his immediate retirement plans and said he still possess the firepower to prolong his career for at least four to five years.

Lee, 32, bounced back in style from a mediocre India tour, ripping apart New Zealand batting line-up last week with best figures of 9 for 171 in his 74-match Test career.

"I'm confident in my own mind. If I keep doing the right things, if I look after my body, there's at least another four or five years left in me. It all comes down to staying away from injury and looking after myself," Lee was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.

"Being a fast bowler, things will go wrong with your body, it's the nature of the beast. But I've got a great strength program I'm working on. The game has changed a lot in the last 10 years. It's gone to a new level. Blokes are fitter and stronger," he added. 

The New South Wales pacer further said that his run-ins with injuries and stint as a 12th man in the national side has forced him to lose crucial time of his playing days.

"I know I'm 32, but the truth is I have missed a fair bit of cricket with injuries, plus I was 12th man for the Test side for 18 months.

"I only feel 27 or 28 in bowling terms. I'm still improving. I don't feel I'm ready for that (retirement) just yet," Lee said.

With 309 Test scalps at 30.12 under his belt, Lee is fast approaching towards the elite club of 400-Test wicket bowlers and is also on the verge of overtaking his idol, Dennis Lillee's haul of 355 Test wickets.

"To think I'm about 40-odd wickets from going past Dennis Lillee, I find it hard to comprehend. It feels like yesterday I was playing for the Oak Flats under-8s.

"Dennis was the bloke I emulated in the backyard. When I was 16, I met him at a fast bowlers clinic in Sydney. I remember him saying: 'You have good pace, if you stay strong, you never know, one day you might play for Australia'," said Lee.

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