Brett Lee has been named the captain of the Prime Ministers XI at Manuka Oval.

Brett Lee has been named the captain of the Prime Ministers XI at Manuka Oval. Photo: Jay Cronan

A four-wicket haul for the Prime Minister's XI launched Brett Lee's international career and the fast-bowling great wants to help usher in the next Australian star when he captains the side next month.

The semi-retired Test champion who played 76 Tests and took 310 wickets also insists he can rattle England's batsmen when he plays in his third PM's XI match at Manuka Oval on January 14.

Lee joined Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra on Wednesday to launch the invitational match.

Brett Lee bowls for the Prime Minister's XI against India at Manuka Oval in December 1999.

Brett Lee bowls for the Prime Minister's XI against India at Manuka Oval in December 1999. Photo: Stuart Milligan/ALLSPORT

More than a decade ago Lee was a fiery 23-year-old when he ripped through a star-studded Indian batting line-up, claiming 4-25 in a blistering spell which included prized wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.

Three weeks later Lee made his Test debut and unleashed his 160km/h bowling against India in Melbourne. Fourteen years on and Lee wants to help unknown cricketers make the same transition.

''To lead the up and coming young cricketers who will be pushing for higher honours in years to come will be fantastic,'' Lee said.

''It can happen, you can get the call up [after the PM's XI] if you shine in the brighter lights.

''[Australian selector] John Inverarity called me up. It's a huge honour to lead an Australian side … it will be my last game against England so I'm pleased I get the chance to have a crack against them again.''

Abbott broke with tradition at the announcement when he revealed ''I'm not a cricket tragic'', unlike mentor John Howard.

''I wasn't a batter, bowler or even a fielder … But probably as a sledger. Perhaps it was good training for my subsequent life in politics,'' Abbott said. ''Australian cricket seems to be in a much better shape now than it did three weeks ago.''

Abbott will work with Cate McGregor and Inverarity to finalise the PM's XI line-up in the coming weeks.

Cricket Australia will likely use the game as a trial for players to earn a spot in the one-day international team and also blood rising stars. Canberra's Ryan Carters is in contention after smashing two first-class centuries in the past month.

The PM's XI fixture has marked significant milestones in Lee's 14-year career. The 1999 game against India gave then-Test captain Steve Waugh confidence in Lee's ability to take on the world's best batsmen.

Lee also played for the PM's XI against England in 2011 in his comeback from injury to try to earn his place back in the Australian one-day team.

And the 2014 fixture will be Lee's last international match, despite the 37-year-old being committed to the Big Bash Twenty20 competition and the lucrative Indian Premier League.

''When I got four wickets against India, it maybe made Steve Waugh notice and helped me get picked,'' Lee said.

''It just goes to show it's not just pick anyone's name out of a hat and that it's not a charity thing, this is a full on prestigious event and it certainly helped me.''

Retired Australian skipper Ricky Ponting was the PM's XI captain last year while Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer have also taken the reins in recent years.

''A massive honour is selling it short of how I feel,'' Lee said. ''You play for your country for a long time and this is the icing on the cake, to be named captain is amazing. You couldn't script it any better. I never thought I'd play for 13 years for Australia, to get this call-up now is brilliant.''


January 14: Prime Minister's XI versus England at Manuka Oval, 2.20pm. Tickets available through Ticketek.