Former Australian speedster Brett Lee has put the onus on the Indian and New Zealand bowlers to have a strong say in the ICC World Test Championship, which he said will tell the world about which side is ‘the best team around the world.’
“This is an opportunity now to find out which is going to be the best team currently around the world. It is a neutral venue with no home advantage. So when you think about who has got a chance of winning, you have got to say, it comes down to bowlers,” Lee said in an interview published on the ICC website.
Lee echoed the sentiments of former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and compared the captaincy styles of both Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli. He pointed out the aggressive captaincy style of Virat Kohli and the ‘conservative’ style of Kane Williamson but said that both skippers would be eager to win the first edition of the WTC.
"Both captains would want to raise a trophy at the end. In terms of the Indian skipper, Kohli, he is such a dynamic player, such a great influencer for the team, a world-class batter. We know that Kohli steps up on the big occasions. He wants to see his side be the first winners of the ICC World Test Championships,” Lee added.
“They (Kohli and Willaimson) are different. Kane is a lot more conservative without being boring. He has got a great cricket brain. He attacks when he needs to. At the other side of the ledger, you look at Kohli, he is more of an aggressive captain. There is no right or wrong answer to any of these, but this is going to be a great opportunity to see which one comes out on top because they are different.”
Although Lee commended the richness of talents in the Indian team, he picked New Zealand as favourites due to familiarity with the conditions in England as they are similar to what they play in back home.
“The Indian Test line-up that will be on show, they have got some amazing talent, as do the Kiwis. It is pretty evenly matched there, though with the experience of New Zealand because they have bowled in conditions that are similar back home, the Kiwis might have an advantage purely from that fact. Whichever team bowls the best will win the Test,” Lee reckoned.
He suggested the Blackcaps to believe in their own gameplan and take the confidence in playing in not so alien conditions with themselves into the WTC final against India.
“For someone like New Zealand and Kane Williamson, they have just got to believe in themselves. And believe in their defence in terms of their batters, their top five, and believe that they can win it. You have got a great side, and they are playing in conditions that might suit them. But there is a lot on the line,” Lee asserted.
The WTC final will be played with the Dukes ball like all the Test matches that are played in England and the ball has attracted a lot of headlines for the extra bit of help it provides to the bowlers. However, Lee has a word of caution for the bowlers not to get carried away with the amount of swing as their inaccuracies will open massive scoring opportunities for the batsmen.
“What we know about the Dukes ball is that it talks. We know that when you go to England when you bowl with the Dukes ball, it does swing around. If you play in England, and you do not quite get the right areas, you can go for runs, a lot of runs,” Lee cautioned.
The World Test Championship final will be played in Southampton from June 18 and the world will be eager to watch who among Virat Kohli or Kane Williamson and their side will lift the trophy.