New Delhi: His good looks and singing skills have made him a heartthrob of teens, but make no mistake. When Brett Lee ran up to bowl, he is a batsman's worst nightmare.
The 35-year-old who retires from international cricket, has been defined by sheer speed and deadly accuracy when on the field. Off it, he has been the rare Australian cricketer who would not sledge, has never been known to have an altercation with batsmen and was a picture of geniality and friendliness.
Brett Lee or Binga made his international debut against India in the Melbourne Test in 1999. And with a bang. He announced his arrival with a five-wicket haul and gave the world a glimpse of breathtaking pace. Very soon, he was being compared to greats like Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Jason Gillespie.
And Australia had found its dream opening bowlers in Lee and McGrath. One tormented the batsman with pace, while the other checked the scoring with immaculate line and length.
In his 13-year career, marked by injury, Brett Lee picked over 700 international wickets (310 in Tests, 380 in ODIs and 28 in T20Is). He has taken 10 five-wicket hauls in Tests and 9 five-wicket hauls in ODIs. He is also the first bowler to take a hat-trick in T20 cricket.
The pacer from New South Wales announced retirement from Test cricket in 2010 so that he could focus on the shorter formats of the game. Two years later he is quitting international cricket in all forms. He played 76 Tests, 221 ODIs and 25 T20 internationals. He retires as the second highest ODI wicket-taker for Australia behind Glenn McGrath (seventh all-time) and one of only four Australians to take more than 300 Test wickets.
Binga is not leaving the field though. He will keep playing in the Big Bash and Indian Premier League. In the IPL, he plays for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders, which won the title this year. For the first few IPL seasons he played for Preity Zinta's Kings XI Punjab.
Brett Lee is a musician too and plays bass guitar in his band 'Six & Out'. He has a deep connect with India and has always been vocal about his love for this country. Apart from a dream debut against India, Brett Lee also sang with legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle in 2006.
Lee was born in Wollogong on November 8, 1976 to Bob Lee and Helen. He showed early promise and was awarded a scholarship to attend the AIS Australian Cricket Academy in the 1995-96 season. He married his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kemp in June 2006, but they divorced two years later. They have a son, Preston Charles.