Sir Richard Hadlee has come out swinging at Brett Lee, who in the tea break of the fourth Ashes test at the MCG bowled six balls at egotistical media man Piers Morgan. This was the result of a verbal stoush on Twitter where Lee had challenged Morgan to face an over of fast bowling following the former newspaper editor questioning the courage of the England batsmen.
To many it was simply more of Channel Nine’s cheap sensationalist coverage of the Ashes, the sad thing was it simply pandered to Piers Morgan’s already inflated ego.Others saw it as Brett Lee shutting up a man with far too many opinions, many of which no one wants to hear. To Sir RIchard Hadlee it was Brett Lee damaging the image of the game.
Morgan 48 was hit four times in six balls as he backed away, down the leg side; as no doubt many would. Brett Lee opted to follow his movement to square leg.
“I only hope that Brett takes a few minutes to reflect on his stupidity – this was a brain explosion of the highest order – it was clear that Morgan could not bat or defend himself against Lee’s pace and intimidation. It was a deliberate attempt to hit, injure, hurt and maim his opponent,” Sir Richard said when writing for Fairfax New Zealand News. “If [Morgan] was hit on the head or across the heart the result could have been devastating.”
Although it was meant to be a bit of fun, Sir Richard is right. It was foolhardy bowling by Lee. He is a professional still playing, albeit T20, and he was bowling to a rank amateur who appeared never to have played to any reasonable level.
During his Test career many questioned Brett Lee as a quality fast bowler, and this display will have confirmed what many already thought, that he was never a top line bowler. If he wanted to make a point, why when he saw Morgan backing away did he not knock his stumps over? Surely bowling him five out of six balls would have been far more humiliating and would have made a stronger statement? Interestingly Channel Nine’s Mark Nicholas only highlighted that only one of Lee’s deliveries, the one that did actually hit the stumps was a “no ball,” when it looked like he overstepped the line on more than one occasion.
Sir Richard has stated “Cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council, has an edict of fair play and upholding the spirit of the game, and that exhibition compromised those values.” Many have already told him to keep his thoughts to himself, others question whether he ever used such tactics on his way to 431 test victims. He was bound to have, but the difference was he was bowling to men who played cricket for a living, and were used to facing pace bowlers.
No doubt Brett Lee feels he proved a point, but one can’t help feeling that had he bowled straight, the point could have been proven far more saliently; then again he struggled to do that when at his peak. One thing that he cannot accuse Sir Richard Hadlee of being.