New Delhi: Brett Lee knows a thing or two about being part of great bowling lineups. In his illustrious international career, Lee has shared the dressing room with Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and then the generation that came after that included a young and fiery Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson.
So when the 42-year-old former pacer says that the current Indian bowling line up can help the team dominate world cricket, it is high praise. “India have got a good pace line up,” Lee said.
“This is the first time we are seeing some real pace throughout India. They have a lot of youngsters coming through and obviously there are the likes of (Mohammed) Shami and (Jasprit) Bumrah; the Indian bowling stocks right now are very healthy. So as a foreigner coming to your country it is great to see. There is no reason why India can’t dominate world cricket because of their bowling,” he said.
Lee’s own former team Australia, who have had a torrid time in ODI cricket over the past two years, seem to have found form at the right time and he feels they can go “as far as they want” in the World Cup beginning Thursday in England and Wales.
The five-time World Cup champions went on a winless run in ODI series between 2016 and 2019, even losing to India in a bilateral rubber at home for the first time ever. But they have beaten India and Pakistan away from home this year and managed to beat tournament favourites England in the first of their two pre-World Cup warm-up games.
Australia’s batsmen seem to be peaking at the right time with captain Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith all looking impressive in recent games. Lee is of the opinion that it might just come down to how the defending champions adapt to the English conditions, like any other team in the tournament.
“They (Australia) are a good team. There has been an injury for one of the fast bowlers — Jhye Richardson is out of the World Cup, but Kane Richardson has been brought in. Look, any side that goes to the World Cup will be very well prepared. It’s all about who adapts well to the English wickets,” he said.
India bore the full force of pacer friendly conditions when they took on New Zealand under the clouds at The Oval in their first warm up game on May 25. Trent Boult tore through the Indian top order, picking the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and K.L. Rahul before dismissing Kuldeep Yadav at the end of the innings. The latter had put up a 62-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja for the ninth wicket to drag India past the 150-run mark.
But Lee feels such conditions will be few and far between during the World Cup.
“We’ve got to keep in mind what time the tournament will be played. It is in June and July and the wickets over there aren’t really conducive to fast bowling at that time of the year,” he said. “So a lot of people think it will be a bowler’s wicket, but it’s not necessarily the case. I think they will be okay with the brand new ball, but once the shine goes from the ball it’s going to be hard work for the fast bowlers.”
By Rohit Mundayur