A bowling all-rounder who knew his way around with the bat and wasn’t shy of whacking it, Shane Lee, the elder brother of Brett Lee, turns 48 on August 8. In a short career filled with highs and lows, Shane made his mark more as a first-class player for New South Wales than in his international career. In the 90s, the skills the board were looking for was a bowling all-rounder, who knew how to strike and when to strike along with claiming wickets at crucial moments, Shane fit the mark.
Right from the Under-19’s squad, there was a spark in Shane which impressed the scouts. Other than his bowling and batting attributes, Shane also had the safest hands in fielding. His breakthrough came after impressing in the Sheffield Shield and Pura Cup and his performances earned him a call from Cricket Australia in 1995.
Shane went on to make his debut in One Day Internationals (ODI) for Australia on December 17, 1995, against West Indies at the Oval. The talisman went on to score a handy 39 runs on his debut. However, since then, Shane was unable to recreate his magic which he made on his debut. The bowling all-rounder was included in the 1996 Australia World Cup squad but failed to make an impact, which saw him being dropped from the ODI squad.
However, self-belief and determination through first-class cricket and his appearance for Somerset in County Cricket in 1996 saw Shane rise up in the ranks once again and reignite the faith in the ODI selectors, which saw Shane being recalled to the Australia ODI squad in 1999. The right-armer was also included in the Australia squad which won the 1999 World Cup.
Shane played smart and intelligent cricket, claiming wickets at crucial times for Australia in ODIs. His success in international cricket saw the bowling all-rounder being appointed as the state’s captain and led the Blues in 13 First Class matches and 14 One-Day matches. Shane shattered expectations and was on a dream run in his cricketing career. However, knee injuries played spoilsport in Shane’s career from 2001 to 2003. After picking up the knee injury in 2001 against India, the injury persisted which saw Shane out of action for quite a while.
As the injury became severe, Shane retired from international cricket in 2002 and in April, 2003, retired from all formats of cricket at the age of 29.
In a career which spanned from 1995 to 2003, the right-armer played 45 ODI matches for Australia, in which he scored 477 runs with a high score off 47 and has picked up 48 wickets with a best figure of 5/33, his only fifer. Despite the short lived career, Shane stood out at times when Australia’s greats were being birthed.
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