World cricket will miss Brett Lee: Akhtar

Updated: Jul 14, 2012, 20:25 PM IST

Lahore: Pakistan`s enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar today said the world cricket will miss Australian paceman Brett Lee and more quick bowlers like him are needed as they "light up the game".

Lee announced his retirement from international cricket on Friday.

Akhtar and Lee battled for the title of the world`s fastest bowler title in the late 90s and early part of the new century. Akhtar twice crossed the 100mph barrier, first in 2002 and then in the 2003 World Cup while Lee once clocked 99.9mph against New Zealand.

"Though we were fierce competitors and rivals on the field but I found Brett Lee to be a honest person who would do anything for the sake of his Australian team," Akhtar said.

"Fast bowling at its best is a spectacle for the people and everyone will miss watching Lee in action. I am really sad to hear about Lee`s retirement decision but I think it was coming because I know that he battled through a lot of pain to play for Australia such was his passion for cricket."

Akhtar said it was sad that world cricket at present did not have any genuine fast bowler, capable of breaching the 100 MPH speed barrier. "Guys like Daryl Steyn and Mornie Morkel are quick but we need more performers like Lee who light up the sport."

Describing Lee as a warm and cordial person, Akhtar said he had enjoyed good times with him while touring Australia.

"But on the field he was a fighter and true Australian. All grit and never wanting to give up. He could really terrorise the batsmen on his day. A truly great fast bowler," he said. The Pakistani pacer said he was a firm believer that any team which had genuine quick bowlers would also do well.

"The West Indians and Australian champion teams of the past who ruled the cricket world, their hallmark was a few great batsmen and a battery of quick bowlers," he said.