ABU DHABI: Former Australian batsman Dean Jones questioned Brett Lee’s selection for the Ashes, saying he did not deserve a place in team’s fast establishing pace attack. The 32-year-old Lee, who joined the squad here on Tuesday, will have his progress towards full fitness assessed by the team management and has an outside chance of playing in the Twenty20 match against Pakistan in Dubai on May 7. The match follows the ongoing five-match one-day series. Australia will announce their Ashes squad – to be played in England from July 8 – in three weeks. Jones said Lee was in trouble in forcing his way back.
“I ask you now: if you had a fully fit Lee, would you pick him among your best four quicks for the Ashes tour to England?,” said Jones. “He knows he is in serious trouble. He knows his replacements have done a better job than he hoped in his absence,” said Jones of the Australian pace attack led by Mitchell Johnson in Lee’s absence since the Boxing Day Test last year. Lee, who so far has 310 Test and 303 one-day wickets, claimed only 21 wickets in his last eight Tests. Jones, who played 52 Tests and 164 one-days for Australia, believed Lee’s age was catching up.
“Lee is coming back from stress fractures to his ankle and he is now on the wrong side of 30. His pace is dwindling, which is putting pressure on his ability to move the ball around,” said Jones. On his arrival here, Lee said he hoped to be at his best by the time Australia defend the Ashes in England but Jones believed he was being unrealistic. “Lee has said that he is ready to assume the lead role for the Ashes Tests. I think he needs to get out of the bubble that he is living in and look at the real world that is about to confront him. “Simply, the No 1 bowler for Australia is Johnson. The heat that this guy is bowling is frightening. On the recent tour of South Africa, I honestly thought I was watching an old tape of the great West Indies bowlers.”