Former Australia pacer Brett Lee recalled his duel bowling to India legend Sachin Tendulkar, saying the tussle against the best batsman in the world at the time "really thrilled me".
Even the fans watched in anticipation when Lee, renowned for his pace and hostility, ran-in against Tendulkar, who was among the rare Indian batsmen during his 24-year stay at the highest level to dominate the mighty Aussies across formats.
In Tests against Australia, Tendulkar struck 3,630 runs at an average of 55, including 11 centuries and 16 fifties, while in ODIs, he scored 3,077 runs at an average of 44.59 and strike-rate of 84.71. To his credit, Lee dismissed the 'Master Blaster' nine times in ODIs and five in Test matches.
"My sort of one-day records are better than my Test records because I think I've got more of an opportunity in one-day cricket than Tests," Lee told Times of India. "I was the 12th man for 18 months. When I was at my peak, I was bowling at 160kph. I missed out most in the 2005 and 2006 summer."
"So, I guess it took a lot out of me in my Test career. But I think maybe my style of bowling is more suited towards one day cricket. And I reckon the chance to bowl against Sachin Tendulkar was something that really thrilled me."
“I wanted to make sure that I was on top of my game. So, if you want to compete with the best you have to be at your best. And I've thought that when I'm playing against Sachin most times, I was at my best because he brought the best out of me," he added.
"I know I have a good record against Sachin. But he's got a good record against me too in terms of scoring runs. That was always a huge contest against him. I really enjoyed that contest."
Meanwhile, Lee also was effusive in praise of the current group of Indian fast bowlers. The 43-year-old gave his insight into each of the quicks' strengths and backed them to continue delivering the goods.
“I've watched Mohammed Shami. He's been around for a long time now and he's obviously had a fantastic career. I think what he does with the ball, whether he is bowling with the new ball or old ball, he is such a great asset to the Indian cricket team," Lee said.
"Jasprit Bumrah is the biggest find over the last two or three seasons for India. He's got such a powerful run up of only about seven or eight steps. He somehow finds the ball to come in at 145 kph or whatever. He's been a great find for Kohli's team."
“Ishant Sharma has been around for a long time. I think that the way that he's maintained his fitness and credibility at that level is just great. When Bhuvneshwar Kumar is on song, he is a treat to watch. He's so exciting to watch with his wrist bowling and swinging abilities both ways."
"Umesh Yadav is another asset to the team. These are huge assets to the Indian cricket team whether it's pace, stamina, the ability to swing the ball both ways. So, it's hard to pick out one. They've all impressed me in some shape or form," he concluded.