Mumbai: Wishing for a match-up between his home country Australia and title holders India in the 2015 ICC World Cup final, retired fast bowler Brett Lee today said the defending champions’ biggest task would ahead of the mega-event would be to find pacers who can bowl at 140-kph.
“An Australia-India final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground would be fantastic and incredible. There will be a full house. India have very good batsmen and great spinners.
“But they need to find bowlers who can bowl at 140kph. India need to really show they have dominating fast bowlers as the wickets will be fast and bouncy. For them to put their best foot forward they have to find fast bowlers,” he said at a media conference organised by Tourism Victoria here.
MCG would host the final of the ICC World Cup, of which Lee is a brand ambassador as well as of Victoria Tourism, on March 29. Cricket’s showpiece event, to be held in Australia and New Zealand, kicks off on February 14.
Lee gave a lot of credit to left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson for the turnaround in the Australian team’s fortunes after they suffered a humiliating defeat in the Ashes series in England and also whitewashed by hosts India last year.
“It’s simple. Australia will be hosting the World Cup in 2015 and we should be ready for that. Mitchell Johnson has been outstanding and has led the turnaround with his moustache. He has been fast and aggressive and has changed the face of Australian cricket,” he said.
“Added to that is (wicketkeeper-batsman) Brad Haddin and coach Darren Lehmann who makes the players more comfortable. Australia has been a lot more confident. They have played some great cricket and look a fantastic side,” said Lee, who took a total of 690 wickets in Tests and ODIs before retiring from both formats.
The speedster praised the Indian Premier League for the revival in Johnson’s fortunes after he looked lost to Australian cricket.
“He played for Mumbai Indians in IPL which provided him the opportunity (last season) to bowl fast and under pressure. He impressed everyone in Australia by bowling fast again and developing his game.”
Lee praised India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Virat Kohli for leading the team from the front.
“A captain needs to be respected as a player which is 3/4ths of a victory (as captain). M S Dhoni leads from the front by making runs and so does Kohli. A captain needs to lead from the front,” said Lee.
Emphasising the fact that India needs to find good fast bowlers to do well, especially in overseas conditions, and in 2015 World Cup, Lee highlighted the success tales of compatriot Johnson and South Africa spearhead Dale Steyn.
“Dale Steyn and Mitch (Johnson) are the best two fast bowlers in the world now. No one likes to face fast bowling.”
Praising South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith, who has announced his retirement from the game, Lee said the left-handed opening batsman is a fantastic cricketer who was destined to lead the side at a very young age after South Africa came a cropper at home in the 2003 World Cup.
“He has been a great leader for South Africa, becoming its captain when in his early 20s. It was a big challenge..I played (Australian first class) Shield cricket at 22. He is a fantastic cricketer,” Lee said.
Lee said the pressure on modern day cricketers is huge because of various factors and one way he keep onself fresh was by turning the attention to other pursuits in the off season.
“There is a lot of pressure on players these days, like attention from the media. You have to stay fresh as a cricketer and, to me personally, I tired to chill out, get away from cricket,” said Lee, who is a singer and has released some music albums, including one with Bollywood playback legend Asha Bhonsale.