May be it is the thing of the past when bowlers used to play all three two formats of the game of cricket and retire once for all from all the formats simultaneously. Some examples include India's Javagal Srinath, Australia's lanky pacer Glenn McGrath and others who quit both tests and one dayers simultaneously in one season to be more precise. This may not be the case with the present generation of bowlers with increasing load on bowlers who will have to do an extra bit of hard work in order to capture wickets even against low standard teams like West Indies & Bangladesh.
Thanks to the batsman friendly nature of wickets and batsmen friendly rules like the extended powerplay and a free hit when a no-ball is bowled. Added to the discussion would be abandoning the pitches which are termed dangerous for batsmen when the ball swings like a mad monkey. And bowling fast is no child's play for, this requires more work outs and increased fitness levels. This may not be true in case of batsmen and spin bowlers who do not take much burden when compared to fast bowlers. Added to that would be tournaments like the IPL which can guarantee money much more than what test cricket can.
However, Brett Lee's case is not as worse as that of New Zealand's Shane Bond who also quit from test cricket a couple of months back to concentrate on one dayers and the T20 formats of the game. Brett Lee has played 76 test matches for Australia compared to Shane Bond who had played just 18 test matches in his 8 year long international career. Brett Lee was able to pick up 310 wickets and also score 5 half centuries with a highest score of 64. Brett Lee's contribution to international cricket and for Australia though not enormous but may be considered satisfactory as far as a fast bowler is concerned.
Lee was awarded the man of the series in the Border-Gavaskar trophy 2007-08 which Australia won 2-1 which he can highlight to his children in case they intend in taking up playing cricket. Very rarely a bowler is awarded the man of the match let alone the man of the series. Brett Lee was able to strike a pace which was less than only Pakistan's Shoaib Akthar but could not draw the fan following and appreciation that Bond could. Like his pace, even his quality of pace bowling lies in between Shane Bond & Shoaib Akthar. The difference being in the reverse direction. Meaning in terms of pace it is Shoaib-Lee-Bond and in terms of quality it is Bond-Lee-Shoaib.