x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Brett Lee gives Australia their aura

It seems hard to believe there is even a debate over Brett Lee's place in the Australia squad for their defence of the World Cup next month.

It seems hard to believe there is even a debate over Brett Lee's place in the Australia squad for their defence of the World Cup next month.

Lee is 34 now and regarded as fragile. He had to withdraw from the most recent global series, the World Twenty20 last year, and admits he is just about hanging in there, "10 or 12 ops later".

He was overlooked for Australia's squad for the three-match series against Sri Lanka which preceded this winter's Ashes, and has long since departed the Test scene.

When the extended squad for the ongoing seven-match series was named, he was told he had been given the chance to impress ahead of the World Cup. Meaning, while others were inked in, he still had to prove himself.

If he does not make the trip, it would be the latest injudicious decision in a winter full of them by Australia's selection panel.

When the debate arose during yesterday's victory over England, one of the Channel Nine commentary team said Lee had to go to the subcontinent, on account of the fact he is "bankable".

Lee's personal wealth is undoubtedly bloated because of his popularity in India, but the point was not related to his commercial pull, rather his reliability.

Australia do not want for fast bowlers, but his ability to harness speed with control is something his rivals, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson, cannot match.

And more than anything, the sight of Lee running in to bowl provides a daunting reminder of Australia's recent golden era.

With him, Australia have their aura back.

pradley@thenational.ae