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Lee sees IPL as ideal warm-up for Ashes

Returning paceman Brett Lee insists the short sharp spells he will bowl in the Indian Premier League will be ideal preparation for what he hopes will be his third Ashes cricket tour of England.

Lee is intent on making the tour after surgery sidelined him from Australia's current campaign in South Africa.

The 32-year-old speedster has resumed bowling after ankle and foot surgery following the Boxing Day Test.

"Everything is going great, so I'm definitely on schedule and feeling really good," Lee said while watching Australia's women in their World Cup match against India on Saturday.

"Back bowling and the ankle is feeling great."

He returns to action next month in a stint with IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab, with whom he played four matches in the inaugural season.

Bowling in two or four over stints would hardly seem the best preparation for a potentially arduous Ashes tour, nor the ideal form of the game to press his claims, but Lee politely begged to differ.

"I can bowl four straight depending on how the game goes. The way I look at it, it's the perfect lead in, so I'm actually really excited about it."

Lee has enjoyed only modest success on the last two Ashes tours, taking nine wickets at 55 in 2001, and 20 at 41 in 2005, for an overall record of 29 wickets from ten Tests at 45.44.

With 310 Test scalps at 30.81 from 76 matches, Lee was hoping his overall record rather than just recent form would sway the selectors in his favour.

"I'm just hoping my record speaks for itself," Lee said.

He struggled in the two series either side of taking 12 wickets at 21 in the two-Test home series against New Zealand.

He took eight wickets at 61 in India and 1-249 against South Africa, though he needed pain killing injections to help him play the Boxing Day Test.

Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch made it clear both Lee and Stuart Clark, who last week returned to action following an elbow injury, would need to show good form to break back into the team.

With Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle firmly establishing themselves in the team with their heroic efforts in South Africa and swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus expected to thrive in English conditions, Lee and Clark are no certainties to regain their spots, even if they do make the squad.

Lee praised the new quicks for their series-winning form in South Africa and recognised their emergence was good for Australia.

"I think it's very healthy for Australian cricket," Lee said.

"I always keep a note on what's happening overseas. The guys have been playing extremely well."

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