Brett Lee says Indian batsmen will be subjected to some short-ball treatment in the Test series starting Monday
One of the most awaited tours of this season has finally arrived and it has all the ingredients to match the hype and hoopla. A lot is at stake as India and Australia clash on December 26 in the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Brett Lee, who has seen it all in past battles, gets candid in an interview with MiD DAY about the high profile series Down Under.
VVS Laxman fends off a short pitched ball. PIC/Getty Images
India's weakness to the short ball was exposed during their winless tour of England recently. Will Australia apply the same strategy to see India off?
We have some exciting quicks around the country at the moment. Some of them have serious pace, so I am sure the Indian batsmen will have their fair share of short-pitched deliveries. The wickets in Australia are a lot harder and carry more bounce, so it will be interesting to watch the Indian batting line- up combat this tactic.
Do you see India winning their maiden Test series in Australia this time?
I think India is a very good team. I do believe Australia's rebuilding is taking shape and we will hold our own especially through our home ground advantage. Whatever happens, it will be an exciting series. I hope Sachin (Tendulkar) gets his 100th international hundred, but Australia wins comfortably.
There was plenty of drama during India's last tour to Australia in 2007-08...
I think this series will be a celebration of two wonderful players, in (Ricky) Ponting and Tendulkar, probably farewelling the Australian public. The series will be competitive and it may come down to a battle in the bowling to see who can take 20 wickets in a Test to win.
Harbhajan Singh hasn't been picked for this tour. Will it be a relief for the Australian team?
He is a terrific bowler and has created a lot of trouble in the past for Aussie batsmen. The Aussies will be glad they are not seeing Harbhajan Down Under.
Australia aren't the dominating force it was a few years ago. Where is the team lacking?
We will see over the next few years a decrease in the level of consistency from our Test teams. Though we have fantastic youth and some great experience, we are missing these 'once-in-a-generation' type players that contributed so much to Australian cricket over the past decade.
How do you see yourself contributing to the Australian team?
My recent minor (arm) injury will not restrict my form too much, and I feel I can contribute strongly to the one-day attack and T20 matches with the Sydney Sixers and Australia this summer.
India is one of the countries against whom you have dished out your best performances. How's your preparation been?
I have always enjoyed playing against India in all forms of the game and I have had good success against them. I am confident I can continue to take wickets and play a strong role for my country against India. We are very well prepared these days and India are obviously a very strong one-day unit. We have been in good form in South Africa in the ODIs, so I think there is no reason why we cannot continue this come the one- day series in February.
Who do you think will be Australia's standout pacer against India?
I think Ryan Harris and Pat Cummins will trouble the Indian batsmen. Ryan has been our form bowler for the past six months. His pace and accuracy could trouble the top order. Pat is a fantastic find, and his pace and bounce will trouble the batting order.
How do you see young pace sensation Umesh Yadav doing in Australian conditions?
I have only seen him on TV. He's an exciting bowler and if he displays the right skills, he could be very effective against our batsmen.
Do you reckon India and Australia should play more frequently?
Absolutely. It has become a huge rivalry and always produces some fantastic matches. Cricket admirers love watching the two teams compete. So, let's continue that.
How has been your association with the Kohinoor group?
I get great joy from working with Kohinoor and the Cricket Education programme. The enthusiasm from the young students makes it all worthwhile. It brings together all the percentages that make a huge difference in a career. The programme is based on the Australian coaching system. Decades of research and experience have gone into building this.