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21 Aug 2008 08:56
Star Australian paceman Brett Lee confirmed on Thursday that the breakdown of his marriage was behind his decision to miss the upcoming one-day series against Bangladesh.
Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Wednesday that Lee would miss the three-match series for personal reasons, and rumours immediately surfaced that it was because his two-year marriage to Liz Kemp was over.
A number of newspaper reports on Thursday pointed to marital problems and the 31-year-old confirmed that was the reason in a brief statement released through CA.
“We have been caught by surprise as to how quickly our situation has become public,” Lee said in the statement.
“It is with regret that I confirm today’s [Thursday] media reports are correct and that Liz and I have decided to separate.
“Given the personal nature of the matter I ask that you please respect our privacy as we attempt to deal with this sensitive situation.”
Lee said he would be making no further comment on the issue.
He and Kemp married in June 2006 in a lavish ceremony after Lee proposed to the podiatrist on a tour of South Africa.
Their son, Preston, was born later that year.
The Daily Telegraph reported the relationship had been on the rocks for a couple of months, the news breaking just days after the fast bowler launched his own brand of men’s underwear.
In a surprise move, Lee was replaced for the three-match series by Tasmanian Brett Geeves, who has not previously played for Australia.
Australia were already without captain Ricky Ponting for the series, while he recovers from wrist surgery.
Opener Matthew Hayden has been named for the series, despite lingering concerns over an Achilles injury.
All three matches will be played in Darwin, on August 30, and September 3 and 6.
The series is currently scheduled to be followed by the troubled Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
Australia then have a Test tour of India, where Lee is a massive star, having recorded a hit Bollywood single last year.
Lee is soon to make his Bollywood film debut in Victory, directed by Manmohan Shetty.—Sapa-AFP
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