Kolkata: The rivalry between Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah, the two pace aces for respective teams, will be something to watch out for when India and New Zealand lock horns in the World Test Championship final - according to former Australian speed merchant Brett Lee.
Now a TV pundit, Lee feels that a camaraderie is only natural between the two as they are teammates in Mumbai Indians in Indian Premier League (IPL) but when they are on either side of the fence with a world championship title at stake - it will be nothing short of a ‘war.’ As someone with a sizeable experience of playing in the IPL, Lee should know better.
Asked if their camaraderie can dilute the rivalry, the man who hurled one of the fastest deliveries in the sport (161.1 kmph against Kiwis in 2005), said: ‘‘Look, I think the friendship will be there. But after they step out over the rope and before they step on the field it will be different. When you get out there, it is war. It is a battle and you are playing for your country. That will not change.
‘‘I think that is with Boult and Bumrah, they know each other so well, they know each other’s strengths, but they also know each other’s weaknesses. So, I think that sort of counter-balances what might be a situation where it could help or hinder someone. I think it is great for world cricket, that you look at these two wonderful players, and they are world class, Boult hoops a ball back in 140 Ks. Jasprit Bumrah can make that duke ball swing around corners. They will be very mindful of what each person can bring to the table.’’
Speaking on a wide range of subjects in an interview to the ICC website, Lee agreed that the WTC final will also witness a battle of contrasting style of captaincy. ‘‘Yeah, they (Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson) are different. Kane is a lot more conservative without being boring. He has got a great cricket brain. I think he has got a wonderful cricket brain and I admire his level of calmness. And that is why I said that he is not a boring captain.
‘‘He is a conservative captain, but attacks when he needs to. And he attacks when he feels it is right. Because he is patient and it works for him and his team. Look at the other side of the ledger, and you look at Kohli, he is more of an aggressive captain. There is no right or wrong answer to any of these because I have played under captains who are conservative and captains who are too aggressive. But this is going to be a great opportunity to see which one comes out on top because they are different. At the end of the day, they are two amazing cricket brains. And that is what I respect. So yeah, it is going to be exciting to see who comes out on top!’’
At the end of the day, they (Kohli and Williamson) are two amazing cricket brains. And that is what I respect. So yeah, it is going to be exciting to see who comes out on top!
Finally, the million dollar question: who does have the edge in the final? Lee was more watchful this time: ‘‘Well, it is a tough one, you would have to see which bowlers can produce on this surface. And when you spoke about the Indian Test line-up, that will be on show; they have got some amazing talent as do the Kiwis. So, I think it is pretty evenly matched there.
‘‘I am thinking though with the experience of New Zealand because they have bowled in conditions which are similar back home, you talk about the ball moving around, you talk about something in the wicket, there will be a bit of something, it may be conducive to fast bowling, to swing bowling. So that is where I think that the Kiwis might have an advantage purely from that fact. Now from a batting point of view, both sides have got batsmen that can play against swing bowling. But I think it comes down to bowling. I think whichever team bowls best will win the Test match final’’ remarked the owner of 310 Test wickets.