Melbourne, Jan 24 (PTI) Aussie speedster Brett Lee isgoing to be one of key players during the national team''sWorld Cup campaign to defend the coveted trophy, feels theAustralian cricket team selector Greg Chappell.
Chappell said the veteran fast bowler would leave a hugevoid to fill if he broke down in the coming weeks ahead of theWorld Cup, starting from February 19 to be jointly hosted byIndia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"I don''t think anybody''s irreplaceable. If thingshappened and he got injured it would be a great shame but Ithink others could step up," Chappell told the Sydney MorningHerald.
"Whether they could do exactly the same role that hedoes, probably not. For that reason we don''t want to lose himbecause there are not many people that could bring to thetable what he brings," the former India coach added.
Lee''s comeback has seen the reversal of fortunes for theKangaroos, who received a 3-1 Ashes drubbing at the hands ofEngland. But with the pacer''s return from injury, the hostshave managed to take a 3-0 lead in the ongoing seven-match ODIseries against England and are just a win away from sealingthe series.
The 34-year-old , who is the series leading wicket-takerwith an average of 15.57 so far, has struck with the new balland has been vital during the later stages with his blend ofyorkers and slower balls.
Despite battling numerous injuries, which saw thespeedster bidding adieu to Test cricket, Lee has lost just oneOne-day International from his past 21 games, stretching backto June 2008.
Lee also enjoys an exceptional winning percentage of71.95, which is the highest success rate compared to those inAustralia''s World Cup squad and is considered as one of themost potential weapons in the Australian armour.
"To that extent he is a very important member of thissquad," said Chappell, adding that the selectors were"hopeful" rather than confident at the start of the summerthat Lee could make a successful return to internationalcricket after the elbow surgery last year.
"We were confident that if he could regain fitness andget back to bowling at the sort of speeds he is renowned forthat he could be the leader of the attack that we will reallyneed in the World Cup. He''s a more than useful lower-orderbatsman. He offers a lot, not least of all his experience andhis reputation," Chappell added.
Emphasising on Lee''s presence in the team, the chiefselector said, "There''s no doubt the whole group is inspiredby what he''s doing and is capable of doing.
"The fact they see his enthusiasm as an experiencedplayer...I''m sure is a great example. From what I''ve seen ofhim around the group, the group''s enjoying him being there,"said Chappell.