Unfazed by threats issued by Shiv Sena and well on his way to recovering from an elbow injury, Australian speedster Brett Lee on Thursday said he would play in the Indian Premier League starting on March 12.
“I obviously feel very proud coming to India. I have been here a lot of times and I love coming here. I have said it time and again that India is like a second home to me. I feel very comfortable with the way I am treated here. It’s humbling,” Lee said on being asked whether Sena’s threat to stop Aussies from playing in IPL would prevent him from participating in the Twenty20 event.
Shiv Sena’s threat has come in the aftermath of the violent attacks on Indians Down Under but Lee said he expects the security arrangements to be good enough to ensure that IPL goes off smoothly.
“We get guided on security everyday by experts. It is for the authorities to ensure that everything is okay,” he added.
The 33-year-old paceman, who is currently recuperating from an elbow surgery that required him to wear a brace for eight weeks, also brushed aside concerns about a slow recovery and said he was on course to be fit for IPL.
“Day by day, it is getting better. I no longer wear the brace and the movement is also pretty good. I am really positive and at this point, I am definitely on schedule (for the IPL),” said Lee, who was here as brand ambassador of Pearls, a real estate group.
Asked why Aussies were not too hot a pick and Pakistanis were completely ignored at the IPL auction, Lee said, “From an Australian point of view, a Test series was happening at that time and some more are coming up, so they wouldn’t have been available.
“For Pakistan, purely from a cricketing perspective, it would have been great to have Pakistani players. It would have been good had they come as IPL has so many players from different countries competing at one platform.”
Lee said despite being bogged down by injuries and facing tough competition from young bowlers like Peter Siddle, he is still confident of finding a place in the Australian national team when he returns to full fitness.
“The great thing about the Australian cricket is that we have depth. We have a lot of good young players. But I am looking forward to getting back nonetheless,” he said.
The tag of number one Test side, which was once an Australian hegemony, is now with India and Lee said despite some critics questioning their status, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men deserve the top spot.
“I think it’s harsh (to say that they don’t deserve it). They have played really well and deserve the number one spot thoroughly,” he said.