Friday 6 April 2007 

Lee Predicts A Cracker Of A Game Between Old Rivals

Australia fast bowler Brett Lee has predicted a "cracker of a game" when Australia take on England in their World Cup Super Eights match on Sunday in Antigua.

"It's sort of a love-hate situation as both sides would love to win it as much as they hate to lose it," Lee, who missed the tournament through injury, told reporters in Dubai, on Friday.

"But I think the team that have bright chances to upset Australia should they reach the final is New Zealand. If Australia are lucky enough to reach the final, they have to watch out for the Kiwis," said the 30-year-old, in Dubai on a commercial assignment.

"New Zealand play competitive cricket. In the past series too, they defeated us 3-0. Like New Zealand, Sri Lanka are also playing good cricket and have a good chance of reaching the final," said Lee who suffered an ankle injury in February.

"It's every cricketer's dream to shine on the biggest stage of the game but in the greater interest of my career it was necessary to take such a step. It's something heartbreaking for me," he said.

'BEST BATTING'

"It would have been great to be bowling with Glenn McGrath in his last tournament since he has been something of a mentor for me," said Lee, who had played a key role in Australia winning a back-to-back World Cup in 2003.

Regarding the stunning first-round elimination of India and Pakistan from the World Cup, Lee said: "India have got one of the best batting line-ups in the world and I am really disappointed with their early exit but I am sure both India and Pakistan will bounce back from the present scenario."

Lee also defended under-fire leading Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar for his failure to win big matches for his country in the competition.

"Sachin is great for the game. What he has achieved for India is absolutely amazing. I know a true champion like Sachin will definitely turn it around. When you play against great batsmen like Sachin and (Brian) Lara, they will play and miss for one or two balls and you think you are on top of them.

"But when you pitch one on the leg side, they drive you past midwicket for a boundary and the pressure is off," said Lee, who is looking forward to making a comeback in the twenty20 World Cup in South Africa and a series in India later in 2007.

© Reuters 2007

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