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Australian speedster

Good on ya, mate


My Life By Brett Lee (with James Knight) Random House, 436 pages Best price: Rs 425 (15% off) at shopping. indiatimes. com

Announcing his retirement from international cricket last week, Australian speedster Brett Lee ought to have no regrets. Having served his country for more than a decade in international cricket with 700-plus wickets to his name, Binga has brought pride and honour to the baggy green. Known as much for his vicious bouncers as his delightfully charming personality - and there are more than a few Indian players who'll testify to both - Brett has certainly made the most of the opportunities that cricket afforded him.

In My Life (with James Knight), Brett takes us on an intimate tour of his life on and off the cricket field. Growing up in Mount Warrigal, Wollongong, in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, the Lee boys - Shane, Brett and Grant - owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to their parents, who were supportive of their boys' ambitions without being pushy. This allowed Brett and his brothers to grow into the things they loved doing. While Brett and Shane went onto play cricket for Australia, Grant took to another pursuit that was also to have a huge influence on Brett's life - music. The love and warmth that Brett shares with his family are evident throughout the book, and you cannot help but feel that Brett is the quintessential nice guy whose dreams came true.

But what really shines through is Brett's multifaceted personality. Brett is as excited talking about music or fashion as he is about cricket. You get the sense that his commitments to his band, Six and Out - which he formed with brother Shane and some mates from the NSW team - or to Barclay's Menswear in Sydney, which helped shore up his finances in the early days, were as important to him as tearing through batsmen. Always eager to entertain, Brett's successes were underpinned by his positive attitude and a genuine hunger to learn.

On the cricket field, Brett was a consummate competitor. Extremely aware of tradition and what it means to play for Australia, he was a complete team man. He gave his all for the game he loved, fighting through countless injuries that are the scourge of every fast bowler. Brett is also extremely respectful of his opponents and speaks in glowing terms about Sachin Tendulkar - both on the 22 yards as well as on the go-karting track. Whether it's the historic 2003-2004 series against India or the 2005 Ashes, Brett describes the great battles he's been a part of with humility and gratitude.

Capturing the essence of Brett's infectious personality, My Life is an honest account of a modest bloke who will be missed by teammates and opponents alike. And in India, a country that he loved and admired, he will continue to have friends.

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