Lee calls Piers Morgan net stunt a lesson

DANIEL LANE
Last updated 07:51 05/01/2014
Piers Morgan
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BRETT LEE: ''When I was going into the nets to bowl at him he said, 'Make sure you go flat out,' because he thought if I went half-hearted it wouldn't look good ... he wanted to know what it felt like for the English batsmen to face 150 km/h bowling - and he did it."

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Sydney Sixers pace ace Brett Lee admitted he would not have wanted to face the barrage he unleashed at English TV host Piers Morgan in a television stunt that resembled the first public stoning in Australia.

Lee, who at 37 still approaches the 150kmh mark with the ball, was criticised by New Zealand great Richard Hadlee for subjecting Morgan to a seemingly life-threatening over for a segment on Australia's Channel Nine Cricket Show.

Morgan challenged Lee to a duel via Twitter to prove a point to the English batsmen about courage under fire after he watched them get bounced out of the Ashes by Mitchell Johnson.

Morgan finished the over battered, bruised and with a broken rib but Lee said he simply gave the media celebrity what he craved - the chance to educate ''keyboard warriors'' about how tough it was to face extreme pace.

''At the end of the day Piers Morgan is a great guy, he totally gives it to people on Twitter [where he boasts 3.9 million followers] but what I love about him is he stands by his word,'' said Lee.

''When I was going into the nets to bowl at him he said, 'Make sure you go flat out,' because he thought if I went half-hearted it wouldn't look good. [Morgan] said he wanted to know what it felt like for the English batsmen to face 150 kmh bowling - and he did it.

''Yeah, he might've got a broken rib in doing it and while he might have backed back a bit ... I wouldn't call it backing away ... that was a natural step a batsman would take. Considering he hasn't played a top level of cricket, but he does have a great cricketing brain, you have to take your hat off to him ... I wouldn't have got in there and faced that.''

Lee admitted the crowd that milled around the MCG's practice nets to jeer Morgan and urge him to take the Englishman's head off, generated an electric atmosphere. He said ''natural instinct'' also played a big part.

''It was like a cauldron,'' he said. ''There were about 5000 people watching [at the nets] and a million people watching on TV. It was my full intention to bowl the first ball over his head, but when I was about to let the ball go I saw his feet move and decided to chase him - it was my natural instinct that took over.

''When I bowled it I said, 'Oooh!' and he said, 'Oooh!' when it hit him - but he was fine. If someone is facing 150kmh the keyboard warriors and armchair critics say it's easy when they're getting caught behind or stepping away, but I can tell you it's a lot harder than what it looks.''

Lee said he'd received plenty of feedback from people in non-cricketing nations, America included, following Morgan's effort.

''It's gone worldwide but it wasn't about me maiming someone at all - I don't aim to hurt people. It was about educating people what it's about to face fast bowling and [it was] also Piers backing up his comments.''

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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