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Lee throws in the towel

Johannesburg: Brett Lee has given up on his dream of displacing Shoaib Akhtar as the fastest bowler in cricket as part of a bold new plan to help Australia win the World Cup.

Lee is happy to let Shoaib hold the unofficial title as the world’s quickest bowler so he can concentrate on improving his accuracy during the tournament.

Shoaib beat Lee to the magical 160 kmph barrier last year when he was timed at 161 kmph during a match in Lahore, while Lee had to settle for second best with a delivery clocked at 159.93 kmph in Cape Town.

“The 160 thing doesn’t really worry me, I’d much rather go out there and take wickets,” Lee said. “If that 160 barrier was to be broken I’d be very impressed and very proud but it’s not on top on my Christmas list right now. I’d rather go out there and do well for Australia.”

The two express bowlers, whose battle for pace supremacy has been going for several years, will almost certainly line up against each other on Tuesday when Australia take on Pakistan in the opening round of World Cup matches.

But Lee said while he once might have been tempted to try and win a points decision over Shoaib he was happy to concede this time.

“When I was about 18 I used to just run in and not worry where the ball is going and just try and see how fast I was bowling,” Lee said.

“But I think as I’ve got older I’ve matured, both as a person and a fast bowler, and I’ve reached a level where pace doesn’t always count. There’s great batsmen around that just don’t worry about pace and can play pace very well. So it’s important that you do bowl that right line and length.”

“I’ve been trying to learn from people like Glenn McGrath. He can bowl about 145 km/h but mostly bowls around 130 km/h,” Lee said.

“His record, though, just goes to show what you can do if you out the ball in the right place.”

Lee not on par: Shoaib

Meanwhile, Shoaib doesn’t feel Lee is quite upto his standards.“Lee is not a match-winner,” said Akhtar.

“Only when he starts winning matches for his team can he be compared with me,” Akhtar said. The comments came as a surprise as Lee is Shoaib’s supposed friend and former teammate at Sydney grade side Mosman. (Agencies)

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