Team India might have lost to Pakistan in their opening game of the ICC T20 World Cup, but former Australia pacer Brett Lee believes Virat Kohli and boys are still the favourites to lift the trophy. In fact, he wishes to see an India-Australia final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on November 14.
Speaking to ANI, Lee said while on hindsight India could have played three spinners, it was just a great show by the Pakistan team. He also believes David Warner is a must-have in the Australian XI and feels South Africa missed a trick by not picking Faf du Plessis. “Look in hindsight maybe (India could have played three spinners), but Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, those types of guys are quality fast bowlers. If they can’t get the job done, who can? They had the right team, but you have to give credit to Pakistan as they played out of their skin. I guess the only person who stood out for India was Virat Kohli, hitting a beautiful fifty and there was a time when Afridi bowled and he smacked him down the wicket for a six. To me, that showed right intent.
“KL Rahul failed and that happens. He had come of the Orange Cap in the IPL, but a bit of extra pace which he wasn’t used to probably in the IPL. The Pakistan bowlers have got some extra pace, but I still have India as favourites,” he explained. But Lee wants the Indian team to take it easy and not feel any pressure after the loss against Pakistan. “Relax, take it easy, take a breath in and it will all be okay. If they trust their ability and instinct, trust their talent, they will be okay. Maybe an India-Australia final somehow,” he smiled.
Throwing light on his association with Jacob’s Creek, Lee, Brand Ambassador said: “You think of Jacob’s Creek and you think about great fine Australian wine and it was established in 1976, ironically my birth year which is amazing, 45 years young. You think about the most wonderful wines across the world and France always comes there at the top of the tree. Some of the sparkling wines we are doing in Australia through Jacob’s Creek are matching what we are seeing in France. A wonderful association personally but now that they are an official wine partner of the ICC T20 World Cup, it is incredible.” Variations have played a big role in the tournament so far and Lee believes teams should look at the variety and not just raw pace.
“Very valid point, if you are playing off-cutters as a fast bowler, generally that means you should play two spinners. Guess looking at the Australian set-up, they have gone in with one genuine spinner and Glenn Maxwell, who can bowl off-spin and is now classed as an all-rounder,” he said. Coming to the Australian set-up, Lee feels the treatment meted to David Warner in the IPL by SunRisers Hyderabad wasn’t the best thing to have happened, but the former cricketer is confident Warner can turn on the heat in big games.
“He is a big match player and incredible. He loves the big stage and opportunity and that is why he has been successful in the big matches. I would pick Warner and you can ask me some million times and I would pick him in all of my sides. He is devastating at the top of the order and he isn’t out of form, he is out of touch in terms of lack of match practice. I feel he was harshly and poorly dealt with by SRH. “To be stripped off captaincy was one thing, but then to be dropped from the team after always being in the top two or three of the Orange Cap holder and having a terrific IPL history, has lost a bit of confidence. But the good thing is that every single game that he plays now, he will be prepared for the wickets and I can promise you he will have a big T20 World Cup,” he said.
“They haven’t won yet — having dominated the other formats — so this has to be the year for the Australians and they have a great squad and I think they can definitely win,” he pointed. Back to the showpiece event, Lee feels it is unfortunate that South Africa do not have Faf du Plessis in the squad. “Absolutely, I don’t know how to answer that question other than that he should be playing 100 per cent. Faf is almost like a KL Rahul, David Warner, guys that dominate at the top of the order, he is a kind of guy who could be devastating at the top.”
Asked how he sees the final four playing out, Lee decided to give England a miss. “The big four in the playoffs for me would be India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. The Kiwis have an amazing structure and I am really impressed with them. Losing to Pakistan would have put India under a bit of pressure but they still got a long way to go in this tournament,” he signed off. (ANI)