The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lillee raises doubts over Lee’s action

Perth: Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee added to the controversy over speedster Brett Lee’s action Sunday saying there had been times when it “has not looked great”.

The 26-year-old Lee has caused England’s batsmen major problems in the third Test here, grabbing three first innings wickets, but some pundits have again raised questions about the legitimacy of his action.

Doubts first surfaced after Lee made his Test debut three summers ago but he was cleared after being scrutinised by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

While saying that, overall, he didn’t have a problem with Lee’s explosive action, Lillee said: “I have seen him right throughout his career, and there have been times when it (his action) has not looked great.

“But it depends on what type of ball is bowled, whether you are bowling a leg-cutter or an inswinger, compared to an outswinger.

“One of the most important things in whether a bowler throws or not is when you turn your hand over — if you turn your hand over high in the delivery action you start to get problems. If you do it down the bottom, it is very hard to throw the ball.

“Overall, I have never had a problem with Brett Lee. I have had a problem with some other bowlers, but I’m not going to mention their names.”

Lillee, who grabbed 355 wickets in his Test career, said authorities needed to continue monitoring bowlers with a suspect action.

“You cannot just clear someone,” he said. “You can clear them for that game, for those overs, or for that ball, but you cannot clear them totally.

“All guys who are suspect or have been reported have got to be monitored. That’s the way it is.

“Guys who have been called, then cleared, must still be monitored because the easiest thing in the world is to go back to what is natural, and if what is natural is a bit suspect — even though you have worked on it and tried to change it — then you have a problem.”

Lillee said he was disappointed for young England fast bowler Simon Jones, forced to return home after rupturing knee ligaments while fielding in the first Test in Brisbane.

“I felt so badly about that poor lad who did everything right and had an unbelievably unfortunate accident. I couldn’t believe the poor fellow’s luck, because I believe he was on the brink of something special, just from looking at him.

Lillee said Steve Harmison was another young England fast bowler who was worth persevering with. “I think there is something special there. I am sure he is tough enough to fight back and be better for it.”

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