The workload of the India quicks, courtesy a hectic IPL, has been massive in the last couple of months and that might affect their performance in the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia at The Oval, beginning June 7. But former Australia pace spearhead Brett Lee doesn’t seem to be reading much into it.
Pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, in particular, did a lot of bowling for Gujarat Titans and Royal Challengers Bangalore, respectively, in the IPL. The duo bowled their full quota of overs in almost all the games they were part of.
Shami featured in three more matches than Siraj — who played 14 and took 19 wickets — in this IPL as the Titans went the distance once again. In just over a week, the two pacers will have to be back in business again in the Test Championship decider and with a bigger role to play, especially in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence.
According to Lee, the IPL matches should go on to be “the perfect build-up” for Shami and Siraj heading into the WTC final.
“I think it’s fine. In fact, this has been the perfect build-up to have a decent workload under their belt before the Test Championship final. So, not to worry,” Lee, who has been commentating in this IPL, told The Telegraph on Saturday.
Virat Kohli has already gotten into Test mode. Twitter
Lee, one of the fastest- ever to have played the game, was effusive in his praise for Shami. “I’ve been super impressed with Mohammed Shami, who has taken so many wickets and been so consistent.
“Once again, he has shown why he is world-class with arguably the greatest seam position on show,” Lee emphasised.
The Australians missed their go-to pacer Josh Hazlewood when they toured India early this year, particularly in the fourth and final Test on a flat surface in Ahmedabad. Fit and back in the Australian squad, Hazlewood’s return could give Australia a slight advantage if conditions at The Oval are loaded in favour of the seamers, Lee agreed.
Besides, Hazlewood is far more consistent than the other Australian quicks in terms of hitting the outside off-stump channel.
“Yes, I’ve always been a fan of Josh Hazlewood and hopefully, for Australia, he will be hitting that impeccable line and length, and can crack open that (Indian) top order in order to get into the middle order as early as possible with that new-ish ball,” Lee stated.
Gill, Kohli form
The way Shubman Gill has batted in this IPL to secure the highest run-getter’s cap and the current form of former captain Virat Kohli bodes really well for India in this (ODI) World Cup year, Lee acknowledged.
“It’s great to see Virat Kohli back to his best and also Shubman Gill playing the way he has been. Indian cricket certainly looks very sound at the moment with experience and also the youth really starting to hit their straps. Surely great signs ahead...” Lee stated.
That said, how much could this purple patch benefit Gill and Kohli in the WTC final, as conditions at The Oval will be different, while the bowling attack they will come across will also be far superior?
“I think it’s going to be a great challenge for both teams. The conditions will be challenging for all on show, but I believe the best team will come out on top,” Lee signed off.