Cricket needs exciting characters to make game interesting: Lee

Mumbai, Oct 29 (IANS) Legendary fast bowler Brett Lee said on Thursday that the presence of players like Virat Kohli and Dale Steyn on the cricket field makes the game more exciting but pointed out that players should control their aggression and should know where to draw the line.

Recently, Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma was handed a one-match suspension for behaviour that breached the ICC code of conduct during the Colombo Test against Sri Lanka. The Delhi pacer will miss India’s first Test against South Africa which starts in Mohali on November 5.

“You have to have characters in the game like Andew Symonds, Shoaib Akhtar, Sreesanth, Andre Nel, Dale Steyn, Virat Kohli. Kohli is a completely different guy on and off the field. That’s fine and good that gets him to play good cricket,” Lee told reporters here.

The former Australia pacer was named as Cochlear’s first global hearing brand ambassador of the Indian leg of the initiative ‘Sounds of Cricket’ to raise awareness about social, emotional and economic impact of hearing loss on individuals and their families.

“I don’t support someone being suspended. Also you don’t want to change the game into bunch of puppets, running around just going through the motions. You need to have exciting players, characters in the game,” he said.

“But there is a line you should not cross. You should be punished if you cross the line. I have read what happened but didn’t see what happened. I love bowlers with controlled aggression. Having aggression is good but not too much,” Lee said.

Speaking on the Indian bowling line-up who were thrashed by the visiting South Africans in the just concluded One-Day International (ODI) series, the 38-year-old defended the hosts, saying that the group were given a tough pitch to bowl on, adding that the curators here must focus on preparing pitches suitable for seamers.

“Indian bowlers have to bowl on very tough wickets. It is a tough place to bowl here, I always say that. The onus is on the groundsmen to prepare wickets that are more helpful and supportive to fast bowling. Because 438 is too many runs in ODI cricket,” he said.

“As a bowler you have got a limited area to bowl to, If you are a bit wide of the stumps, you have to go for extra runs. But the batsman has got a lot of opportunities. He can hit switch hit, run at the bowler and hit any shot, whatever he wants. I have always said, prepare a better wicket, that will carry through, 438 is too many runs,” Lee said.

The former pacer said it has become difficult for fast bowlers to remain consistent in all three formats of the game.

“It is always difficult for a fast bowler to start and be consistent in all the formats of the game. Because you are always putting your body on the line every single time you bowl. That is why not many people can do it consistently, because it is so hard. That is why you would have to give your bowlers a bit more,” he said.

Considered as one of the fastest bowlers during his time in international cricket, Lee said post retirement he is concentrating on commentary and coaching young pacers.

“At the moment I am wearing a couple of hats. I am doing commentary, which I love which keeps me into the game. Also help young fast bowlers like Pat Cummins. He is going through a tough period, but he will bounce back as he is a wonderful player,” Lee concluded.

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