Brett Lee
Australia's Brett Lee signals during the first one-day international against England at Lord's cricket ground in London June 29, 2012.Reuters

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee surprised cricket fans around the world by announcing retirement from international cricket on Friday.

Australia's Brett Lee signals during the first one-day international against England at Lord's cricket ground in London June 29, 2012.
Australia's Brett Lee signals during the first one-day international against England at Lord's cricket ground in London June 29, 2012.

The 35-year-old speedster announced his retirement just days after he was forced to return home from England after sustaining a right calf strain in the fourth one day match against England.

"It's official, I have retired from international cricket! Thanks for all your love and support. It's been an amazing 13 years," Lee wrote on his Twitter account.

Brett Lee retired from Test cricket in 2010 after being sidelined from the longer version of the game due to a string of injuries. He had said that bowling continuesly for five days had taken a toll on his body.

"The last two or three nights I have thought about it a lot and I woke up this morning and thought this was the right day to do it," Lee told a media conference at Sydney Cricket Ground.

"It's almost like there has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I have been a bit anxious the last two days. It has been a hard few days."

Lee was expected to play the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, which is starting in September but injury seemed to have forced him to hang up the boots.

"It (retirement) was going to be post-World Cup but I woke up this morning and felt ... that the time was right," he said.

"To play international cricket you need to be mentally and physically 100 percent and I didn't think it would be fair to the team or myself if it wasn't in that space. Looking ahead at the next two months, I just didn't have that desire any more. It's not a lack of commitment but you just get to that point in your life when enough's enough and the great run is at an end."

Bowling consistantly 150 km/h and above, Brett Lee was one of the fastest bowlers in the world, second only to Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who used to bowl 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph) in his prime.

He took 310 test wickets at 30.81 and 380 one-day international wickets at 23.36, one short of Glenn McGrath's Australian record.

(With Inputs from Reuters)