Sydney, Mar 13: A day after it was revealed that aging fast bowlers Brett Lee and Stuart Clark would have to put in good performances in the remaining first class matches to be considered for the upcoming Ashes tour, Lee defiantly vowed to take up the new ball in the first Ashes Test against England at Cardiff.
Lee's position has come under threat after Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus ensured Australia maintained their No 1 world ranking by rattling South Africa in their own backyard. But after having his first net session after ankle surgery at the start of the year, Lee declared: "I'm the fittest and strongest I've ever felt."
The 32-year-old wants to return for the crunch series against England and plans to become the first Australian to take 400 Test wickets and 400 limited-overs international scalps.
Lee has pushed his body to the limit six days a week and has put on 10kg since returning from a trying tour of India last Oct. The pacer will resist the urge to play county cricket and get some vital overs under his belt, preferring to use the Indian Premier League as an Ashes springboard.
He has pencilled in the Kings XI Punjab's first IPL clash with the Delhi Daredevils on April 12 as his comeback game.hat is roughly three months before the first Ashes Test.
"I'm probably the fittest and strongest I've ever felt," Lee told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
"I got back from India and was close to 82kg, now I'm up to 93kg.
"I've had a great 10-week program working with my personal trainer Paul Haslam and we've been doing different types and styles of training to what I've been used to.
"Two days after the (ankle) operation, I was in the gym doing upper-body work, and when I got off the crutches and out of the moon boot, I started the lower-body work. I'm running, rowing, on the bike, swimming and had my first net session on Wednesday at the SCG."
Lee refuses to believe his position in the Australian team would be under threat once he's fully fit.