“Butter chicken!” says the retired Australian right-arm fast pacer about his favourite Indian dish. “Butter chicken is like bowling line and length—keeping it simple, but effective,” he says gushingly. The Aussie speedster is in the country as expert broadcast panel for the Indian Premier League 2019 and is happy to be back in India and feasting on the local food that is “tasteful, rich and incredibly yummy.”
The New South Wales-born bowler pauses the interview to apologise for not greeting us appropriately. He then folds his hands, humbly bows and says, “Namaste…Namashkar… Sat Sri Akal.” Fair to say, we were bowled over (no pun intended). Luckily, we weren’t facing one of his fast deliveries. Then, we continue to talk about his escapades in the kitchen, “I like fishing in my spare time and I love seafood, especially a good Atlantic Salmon. I catch my own fish and prepare it.” He’s modest and says that he’s not a great cook but his love for seafood compels him to don the chef’s hat occasionally and on other days the apron for grilling. “Instead, I am pretty good on the barbeque. I don’t mind cooking some ribs, pork, steak and lamb on it.” And on other lazy days, Lee could polish off a ham and pineapple pizza (no, don’t judge him), or munch on peanuts or fruits like his favourite, Indian mango. Lee shares, “My biggest weakness is chocolate—I love them. But I understand that everything should be enjoyed in moderation, which means if you have some chocolate, you have to put in the hard work later to burn it off.”
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With his menacing run up and ability to consistently bowl at 150-plus kmph, Brett Lee made a huge impact on a regular basis and was a constant figure in the top ten ODI bowlers ranking in the 2000s. When he retired in 2012, he was one of four most successful Australian bowlers, behind Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Dennis Lillee. Despite retiring, the Aussie stays focused on his fitness. “I think weights are important, but not very heavy weights. Light weights, high repetition, consistency and lots of cardio work is the routine that I have followed for decades, through my cricketing days, and even today to stay fit. Also, I run a lot. I think that’s the right way for young fast bowlers to train, and hopefully you, too, will bowl 150 kmph one day,” is his advice for budding fast bowlers.
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Glorious Days of Cricket
The retired fast bowler plays the bass guitar or acoustic guitar for the rock band Six & Out, and indulged us when we requested he belt out a song for us, but his choice was surprising. It was You’re the One For Me—the duet he collaborated with Indian singing maestro Asha Bhosle during the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy in India.
He then recalled his debut Boxing Day test match against India in 1999 when Lee was inducted into the team being successfully pranked by Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath. While the wicket-keeper distracted Lee, the bowling legend tied his fellow-bowler’s shoelaces together, and the rest you can picture! “But putting on that baggy green cap was the highlight of that day because that’s something I had dreamed of for years, and it gave me an immediate confidence boost!”
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We concluded by putting him in a tough spot to name the batsman he would never want to bowl to: “The legendary Sir Vivian Richards. I could only take his wicket if I prayed a lot, and then prayed some more. Although it’s hard to compare eras, but Sir Viv would have done good today as well because he was immaculate with the hook shot.”
Watch Brett Lee with Sir Vivian Richards, in conversation with Sandeep Patil on Taste Match, only on LF.
Illustration conceptualised by Vartika Pahuja
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