Brett Lee calls Virat Kohli a great leader, says he can change the structure of Indian team
Former Australian fast bowling great Brett Lee was effusive in his praise for Test skipper Virat Kohli, who will be at the helm through the long season.
New Delhi: Former Australian fast bowling great Brett Lee was effusive in his praise for Test skipper Virat Kohli, who will be at the helm through the long season and beyond and is worried at the alarming trend of young quicks putting effort on beefing up upper body which in turn is adversely affecting the quality of speed merchants.
"It will be an amazing contest. It will be a test of character and strength to play 13 Tests for Indian cricketers. India can achieve greatness, Virat Kohli will change the structure of the team, he will rub off his qualities on his colleagues. It's a well balanced team. Kohli is a great leader, the team respects him."
Lee was forthright when asked about the absence of genuinely quick bowlers at the moment.
"I just think that we have to keep promoting wickets where bowlers can bowl quick. I don't think bowlers are training correctly, there is a lot of emphasis and too much importance only on guys lifting heavy weights. Gym work is good only if it's done correctly, it has to be high on intensity and low on weights," Lee told PTI here during an interaction.
Lee spoke before the start of a panel discussion on India's upcoming home season organised by broadcast partner Star Sports.
"I don't see guys doing the right kind of training, finding the right people. It's a lot of hard work and it takes a lot on the body and mind. I don't support resting fast bowlers for long. To be a good fast bowler, one has to keep bowling and not rest."
Lee also blamed the benign Indian pitches that has led to a drastic dip in quality of fast bowlers in sub-continent.
"The other reason could be the wickets... you got to encourage fast bowlers to run in and bowl quick. I want to find India's next fast bowler and I believe that the youngsters here can bowl 150 kmph. You can't have 1.3 billion people and not a bowler who can't bowl 150 kms."
He didn't even spare the Australian pitches.
"I am disappointed that Australian wickets are benign now a days, look at WACA. Reverse swing will be the key undoubtedly in the upcoming season."
Lee mentioned Jasprit Bumrah when asked who among the current crop of Indian pacers impressed him the most, and was not critical on Ishant Sharma, too, despite his poor strike rate.
"Ishant has been incredible considering that he bowls a lot on these conditions. Look at the great Kapil Dev who has picked 434 wickets. (Mohammed) Shami has been bowling well, Bumrah has got a different action and if he is allowed to bowl the way he wants he will can be good, and Bhuvneshwar can get it to reverse."
Asked about Ajinkya Rahane, the Aussie said,"He has got a good technique and temperament and is flexible, I think he likes being under the radar, he enjoys that I think."
Talking about Australia's tour of the country later this season, he said,"Australia versus India is one of the most important series, Ashes is also big. If they can do well in India they will go back with a lot of satisfaction. It's an opportunity for Kohli, (Joe) Root, (Kane) Williamson and (Steve) Smith to showcase their skills."
He also had a word of praise for the in-form young opener KL Rahul.
"KL Rahul is a quality player. India's batting is sorted, if they get their bowling right it will be great for them, bowlers will be crucial."
ICC Rankings: Shikhar Dhawan moves up two places to 16th in ODI batting charts, Virat Kohli remains second
Shikhar Dhawan's unbeaten 86 in the first game of the ongoing three-ODI series in Colombo helped him accumulate 712 rating points and gain two slots, while Kohli has 848 points.
As it had been reported earlier, KL Rahul, who has been doing keeping drills, will don the big gloves for the game.
India vs Select County XI: Umesh Yadav leads bowling charge to bundle out hosts for 220 on Day 2 of warm-up game
For India, Umesh was the stand-out bowler as he bowled in short spells and worked up a fair bit of pace with figures of 3/22 in 15 overs.