The media seems to have let Brett Lee's latest beamer slip under the carpet, but I am not so sure it should. I accept the conditions were slippery, but the fact is that Lee has a terrible history of this kind of thing. If players can be suspended until they sort out troubled bowling actions, why can't Lee be suspended until he sorts out his control problems? Someone is going to really get hurt one of these days.
Having discussed Lee's history a thought struck me. I had a hazy memory of this first-class match way back in 1999/2000 when no-one had really heard of Lee. I can't find a match write-up anywhere and there is no note on the scoresheet - but I am sure Lee got in trouble for deliberately overstepping by several metres and bowling a beamer at one of the Northern Districts' tailenders. I even recall angry commentators discussing the fact that criminal action could have ensued if Lee had caused an injury with that ball.
I spent some time last night trying to find my Almanack for the 1999/2000 season without success. Does anyone else recall this incident or have access to the Almanack? Or is age getting to me and I am thinking of an entirely different match and/or player?
Perhaps - if it did happen - that particular incident was simply the result of an excitable youth and I don't want to go too far down the path of accusing Lee of bowling his latest beamer deliberately. But I do think Australia (or the ICC) needs to look at the fact that these balls only ever seem to come out when Lee is under pressure. It could be that his control disintergrates as the nerves kick in, and this is probably something that can be addressed by appropriate remedial action.