Former Australia pacer Brett Lee expects India’s KL Rahul and Mohammad Shami to lead the run-getter and wicket-taker charts during the T20 World Cup 2021.
Rahul finished the recently concluded IPL 2021 as the third-highest scorer and also looked in terrific touch in the two warm-up games against England and Australia. On the other hand, Shami bowled some fantastic spells in recent times including one in the warm-up fixture against England.
“I think India are probably the favourites with their top four or five batters and their bowling attack. I have KL Rahul down as the top run-scorer in the tournament and Mohammed Shami to be the leading wicket-taker, purely going on the last few months,” Lee wrote in his column for ICC.
“So if they deliver and India have one of the leading run-scorers and wicket-takers, it’s a good start.”
Commenting on Australia, Lee said David Warner will be key to the team’s success in the T20 World Cup even though Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) sacked the southpaw as captain and dropped him from the playing XI in the IPL 2021.
“We have not had a lot of success in this format – it is time we changed it and we do have a side that can take it all the way. It obviously won’t be easy, especially when you look at how strong teams like England, India and New Zealand are,” he further wrote.
“But this Australian side is loaded with talent and for me, the key is David Warner. I would like to say he is saving the runs for the games that count after his IPL form! He was really harshly dealt with there and it may have knocked some confidence out of him but he thrives on the big stage. Everything should be rosy for him here, class is permanent.”
According to Lee, the pace troika of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins should do well for Australia in the showpiece tournament.
“I will also put a lot of weight behind Mitchell Starc. There has been some debate in the last year about Starc being past his best but he would be in my team every single time, Josh Hazlewood has had a good IPL and Pat Cummins is a superstar. He is the David Beckham of the team, whatever he touches turns to gold!.”
Talking about Australia’s opening game, Lee said: “South Africa pose a massive threat. Players come and go, greats come and go. But when you play against a nation like South Africa, the respect is always there. We know they have some match-winners and that is where the T20 game will suit them. They have guys who can take the game away within four or five overs and it will be a real test.”
“I think South Africa are closer to the Australian culture than any other nation, in terms of sport. New Zealand are obviously closer geographically but South Africans are abrasive on the sports field. They are always in your face and I love that, it’s great. It is also why they have been so successful in all formats. I know they will give Australia a red-hot crack.”