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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 11:43 GMT

Lee: No need for speed
Brett Lee
Lee feels he has matured as a player and person
Aussie fast bowler Brett Lee has warned fans not to expect a World Cup showdown with his pace rival Shoaib Akhtar.

Lee is locked in an ongoing battle with the Pakistani to be recognised as the world's fastest bowler.

Many see the World Cup as an ideal stage for the rivalry but Lee has more important things on his mind than breaking the magical 160kmph (100mph) barrier.

"The 160 thing doesn't really worry me, I'd much rather go out there and take wickets," Lee said.

"If that 160 barrier was to be broken I'd be very impressed and very proud but it's not on top on my Christmas list right now.

"I'd rather go out there and do well for Australia."

I've reached a level where pace doesn't always count
Brett Lee

Shoaib was clocked at 161kmph during a match in Lahore last year, while Lee was recorded at 159.93 against South Africa in Cape Town.

The two young paceman will go head-to-head when Australia and Pakistan meet in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The Wanderers stadium there is thought to aid fast bowlers with its high altitude and thin air.

But Lee, 26, said a tilt at the record is becoming less of a priority as he gets older.

"When I was about 18 I used to just run in and not worry where the ball is going and just try and see how fast I was bowling," he said.

Brett Lee
Lee's pace inspires fear in batsmen

"But I think as I've got older I've matured, both as a person and a fast bowler, and I've reached a level where pace doesn't always count.

"There's great batsmen around that just don't worry about pace and can play pace very well so it's important that you do bowl that right line and length."

But that is not to say Lee has forsaken his greatest asset.

After missing out on the first two Ashes Tests last year, Lee showed what a lethal bowler he can be with a number of ferocious spells including a truly memorable one at the MCG.

He also spearheaded Australia's VB Series-winning attack with great pace, but says he has learnt the value of accuracy.

"I've been trying to learn from people like Glenn McGrath. He can bowl about 145 kmph but mostly bowls around 130 kmph," he said.

"His record, though, just goes to show what you can do if you out the ball in the right place.

"But in saying that, pace is still my biggest asset and that's why I'm in the team and I'll continue to keep bowling fast."



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