Adelaide: Australian fast bowler Brett Lee could be just as invaluable to Australia`s World Cup campaign in the Indian subcontinent as current golden boy Shane Watson, given his form in the ongoing one-day series against England.
According to reports, the reversal in Australia’s fortunes this summer has coincided with Lee`s return to national colours.
The 34-year-old, along with Ricky Ponting, is one of just two players remaining from the glory days of the 2000s when Australia had no peer on the world stage.
Lee, with a 71.95 per cent winning record, boasts the highest success rate out of those in Australia`s World Cup 2011 squad with more than 30 games` experience.
His record is marginally better than that of Watson (71.66) and Ponting (70.17) and eclipses key players from the past such as Adam Gilchrist (70.38), Glenn McGrath (68.4) and Shane Warne (63.91).
Remarkably, Lee has lost just one ODI from his past 21 games stretching back to June 2008, despite battling numerous injuries for much of that period.
As shown in the past three games, Lee has struck with the new ball and during the middle stages of the innings and, with his blend of yorkers and slower balls, been hard to score freely off in the closing overs.
National selector Greg Chappell stopped short of describing Lee as irreplaceable but admitted the veteran would leave a huge void to fill if he broke down in the coming weeks.
"I don`t think anybody`s irreplaceable. If things happened and he got injured it would be a great shame but I think others could step up," Chappell said.
"To that extent he is a very important member of this squad," Chappell said.
"We`re delighted for his sake and the national team`s sake that he`s been able to do that and that`s a great credit to him,” Chappell added.
Chappell said Lee, second only to Glenn McGrath on the all-time ODI wicket-takers` list for Australia, was an inspiration to his teammates such was his enthusiasm and passion for the game.