Exclusive: Bumrah's injury a huge blow to India's chances at World Cup, says Brett Lee

The former Australian speedster said India also missed a trick by not taking Umran Malik to the World Cup



Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee holds a copy of the first edition of the Khaleej Times at the Galadari headquarters in Dubai on Monday. (Photo by Rahul Gajjar)
Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee holds a copy of the first edition of the Khaleej Times at the Galadari headquarters in Dubai on Monday. (Photo by Rahul Gajjar)
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 10 Oct 2022, 11:54 PM

Since riding off into the sunset, Brett Lee has embraced the slow pace of life as a retired international cricketer. But his heart still races for bowlers that bowl fast.

In his heyday, Lee's unofficial battle with Shoaib Akhtar for the crown of the world's fastest bowler was as compelling as the batting masterpieces Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, the two greatest batsmen to have played the game since Don Bradman, Garry Sobers and Viv Richards, conjured with unmatched regularity in the 1990s.

It's not surprising then that Lee's face lights up when you ask him about fast bowlers as he gushes over Pakistan's ability to 'find a way to find fast bowlers' before showering Umran Malik, the tearaway young Indian quick, with the highest praise.

And Lee believes it's the absence of an injured fast bowler named Jasprit Bumrah, a death overs specialist, that could potentially deal a killer blow to India's hopes at the ICC T20 World Cup (October 16-November 13) in Australia.

"The fact is that Jasprit Bumrah suffered the back injury, it's huge blow to India's chances (at the World Cup)," Lee said during a visit to the Khaleej Times office in Dubai alongside Australian football legend Tim Cahill on Monday.

"I am not saying they can't do it. They are a wonderful side, but a strong Indian side is the side that has Jasprit Bumrah. That would put pressure on guys like Bhuvneshwar Kumar."

India, the former Australian speedster said, also missed a trick by not taking Umran Malik to the World Cup.

The 22-year-old Umran took this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) by storm with his searing pace and scorching yorkers that earned him 22 wickets from just 14 matches.

"Umran Malik is bowling at 150 km per hour. I mean when you have the best car in the world, and you leave it in the garage, then what's the point of having that car? Umran Malik should have been picked in the Indian squad for the World Cup," Lee felt.

"Yes, he is young, yes, he is raw, but he bowls at 150 kmph, so get him in the team, get him to Australia where the ball flies through. It's different when you have a guy bowling at 140 kmph and a guy who is bowling at 150 kmph!"

But Lee, a key member of the star-studded Australian team that knocked the stuffing out of India in the final of the 2003 ODI World Cup, still believes Rohit Sharma's men will pose a formidable challenge for the rest of the field Down Under.

"Australia, the defending world champions, are playing on their home soil and you have to put them right at the top. But I believe that India are also very strong, I think they have got the players who enjoy the extra bounce on the wicket," he said.

"Then you have Pakistan who have got someone like Babar Azam who technically is one of the most gifted players in the world. If he fires, then Pakistan will be tough to beat."

Lee then revealed why Virat Kohli, who is slowly getting back to his top form, scoring more than 400 runs in 10 matches since taking a month-long break from the game, could be a game-changer for India in the World Cup.

"He is world-class. He is absolutely world-class in all facets. As a person, as a player, as a leader. You often see it written in the press about the aggression on the field that you see from Kohli, I don't mind that all," said Lee, who dismissed Kohli's childhood idol, Tendulkar, 14 times in his career.

"When you know him on the field and when you know him off the field, he is two completely different person. That's something the sport is about.

"And yes, he is in good form now. He will do well in Australia because he doesn't mind the short ball, he likes the ball coming onto the bat. That's the reason why I think he will dominate."


More news from