Melbourne: Injured Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee has blamed himself for the current breakdown, saying he ended up being his own enemy by bowling long spells despite having no strength to carry on.
Lee, the fast bowler, bowled a massive 4500 deliveries, over 580 overs, in the year gone by. The workload not just took a toll on his form but also left him down with an ankle injury, which required a surgery -- fourth of his career.
"I'd be OK in the first spell because the adrenaline's going and you've got the brand new ball in your hand, but then I would find that I just had nothing to give later in the day," Lee recalled.
"I guess I've been behind the eight-ball since India. I didn't have the greatest of preparations there and I've probably been chasing my tail ever since. It's been a difficult year, but maybe it's a good thing to listen to your body when it's telling you to slow down," he added.
"I was blown away with the amount of overs I bowled in 2008," the 32-year-old was quoted saying in The Age on Wednesday.
Lee said he never realised that he had strained himself so much until he picked up the ankle injury during the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
"You don't really look at it as a whole when you're bowling, but when you step back and look at the stats it's obviously a lot," Lee said. "I think 2008 has been a unique year. I have certainly bowled a lot of overs. I think if you were constantly bowling 580 overs in a season and you're being asked to bowl 150 kmh, it's going to put a lot of stress on the body. It's a difficult job, but I have been asking for the overs," he added.
Lee said he has been feeling better post the surgery and hopes to be in form on return.
"This is an opportunity for me to get my health back to 100 per cent. It's only been in the last three or four days that I have started to feel normal again. I have just had no strength at all this summer," The pacer, who has taken 310 wickets in 76 Tests, said.
"The surgeon seemed pretty happy with how it all went, so that's a good start. I'm only 32 and I want to play at least another three years. There are plenty of things I would still like to accomplish in the game. I'd like to cross off 400 Test wickets," he added.