Reading with Rahul

Reading with Rahul: My Life by Brett Lee

Brett Lee is undoubtedly one of the world’s most admired cricketers and for good reason.

While he was a ferocious fast bowler who was universally applauded for the mind defying speed his biomechanical flawless bowling action could produce, the main reason he was admired so much was the spirit in which he played the gentlemen’s game:

Brett Lee played with aggression and incomparable passion like a fast bowler should but he also simultaneously played with a wide smile on his face and with good spirit regardless of the situation his team was in.

He also had a insatiable hunger to win which was showcased by his famous knock in the famous 2005 Headingley test as he grittily ground out a gutsy 43 not out to give Australia a chance of winning a game that they had no right to. But it was all in vain…

Brett Lee had an incredibly eventful career that went beyond the raw statistics and it would be a monumental effort to pack it all into one book but James Knight and, of course, Brett Lee have done a stellar job.

The front cover

For me, a cricket autobiography having a plethora of entertaining anecdotes is an absolute must and My Life by Brett Lee certainly doesn’t disappoint in that respect.

Playing in a team brimming with legendary players who are also larger than life characters, Brett Lee, as shown in the book, has countless of incredibly hilarious stories to share such as Shane Watson and the haunted hotel and Lee’s firecracker war with his roommate Jason Gillespie.

My favourite was the tale of Ricky Ponting’s seven pairs of gloves: Brett Lee was 12th man for Australia while Ponting was nearing yet another international century. Ponting then asked for a new pair of gloves and, as 12th man, it was Lee’s duty to deliver them.

But the problem was that Ricky Ponting had 7 pairs of batting gloves all numbered differently and he didn’t specify which number he wanted. Helplessly, Brett Lee decided to take a gamble and he brought out the “3”s only to find out that Ponting wanted the “4”s.

Luckily for Lee, Ricky Ponting took the blunder well and calmly asked Lee to bring out the correct pair of gloves the next over. Brett Lee then “nervously rode every one of the following 6 balls, hoping that Punter would get out and blame” him.

When I read this I chuckled to myself but also wondered why Ricky Ponting specifically needed the “3”s and what difference those specific gloves had to the rest.

This amusing tale is just one of many others that provide the heartbeat of this autobiography.

However, the book wasn’t just fun and games as Brett Lee candidly talked about the darker periods in his life: he talked about the bucket loads of injuries that he suffered across his cricket career.

It must have been incredibly difficult being constantly injured and missing the season but he didn’t give up hope as instead, he came back stronger. This is a testament to the mental strength of Brett Lee.

He also honestly talks about how much of a toll the “chucking” allegations had on his mental wellbeing and also says how relieved he was when he proved the ICC that he was not a chucker.

In summary, Lee teaches a valuable lesson in how to bounce back from a setback and become stronger because of it.

The bowling action of Brett Lee is the peak of athleticism.

While also giving an invaluable insight into some of the famous games he played in, Brett Lee also makes it clear that while cricket was the focal point of his life, he had other interests as well: in particularly music!

In this book, he shows a side to him that you wouldn’t think a fearsome fast bowler would have as he expressed his deep love for music. He reveals that he was a guitar player in his beloved band “Six And Out” and was even approached to make the theme song for the 2011 world cup until a last minute cancellation ruined his chance to shine.

His words on India were also fascinating as he dedicated many pages to expressing how much he loves the culture of the country.

One story that I found very interesting was one that involved Sachin Tendulkar: Brett Lee and Tendulkar were having dinner late in the night when Sachin asked whether Lee wanted to go go-carting.

Lee said yes and asked what time tomorrow they should meet but Sachin said now! Remember this was late in the night at a time most would be sleeping. After they finished racing Sachin yet again asked whether Brett Lee wanted to go for a drive at 5:30.

Lee said sure and told him that he’ll rest up and meet him in the evening but Sachin said that he meant 5:30 in the morning bearing in mind that it was 2:00 at the time.

This shows how popular Tendulkar really is in India and if he wanted to go out it would have to be in the early morning or else he would be mobbed.

This story really encapsulates cricket crazy culture of India.

In all, I think this autobiography covers all bases and I recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable read while still capable of teaching you life lessons and, of course, any cricket fans!

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