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World Cup 2015: In conversation with Brett Lee and Harsha Bhogle

Lee explained that the ICC’s taking steps to ensure that the sport doesn’t become a one-sided show in favour of the batsmen. “The ICC is regulating the width and depth of the bats. It’s a good thing. Another important thing is that the ground needs to be as big as legally possible”, the Australian detailed.

Brett Lee during the launch of the World Cup’s official video game on Friday

The official video game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, ‘ICC Pro Cricket 2015’, was launched by Disney India on Friday, 6th February. Australian bowling legend Brett Lee and renowned Indian cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle were present at the launch and, following the same, interacted with a bunch of journalists here in India via video conferencing to discuss the teams’ prospects in the showpiece event.

On taking up coaching role with Ireland 

Lee, who recently retired from all cricketing formats, has taken up the job role – albeit a short-term one – as the bowling coach of the Irish team. When asked about his decision to work with the Irish team instead of Australia, the 38-year-old explained, “My allegiance is with Australia. I have also done work with Indian cricket team, Bangladesh team and also the Australian juniors. I wish to share my experiences as my skills in this game are important.”

On India’s bowling concerns

When asked about the Indian team’s chances to defend its World cup title, the Australian stated that while India had a good chance to do so, it wasn’t entirely a unit without problems, especially in the bowling department. “Ishant Sharma could play a major role. What India need is pace, especially good bowling pace to bowl at death, at 140-145 km/h. The team needs good young fast bowlers,” he added.

In this regard, and with the focus turning towards the injury concerns of two of India’s leading fast bowlers – Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bhogle said: “Bowling is definitely an issue with India. With injury concerns surrounding Ishant and Bhuvneshwar, I think maybe Dhoni will be tempted to use slower than faster bowlers. Mohit Sharma should get a game. But between the two, Kumar’s injury will be huge to Dhoni.”

In terms of teams’ balance, Lee believes that the Australian team has a strong bowling attack, both in the team and in the sidelines. “South Africa, England and Indian team also have depth in their line-ups,” he emphasised, adding that, for every team, balance was an important factor and that no one should be surprised with any result.

On Australian decks and ICC considering regulating bat sizes 

Speaking about the recent trends of batsmen outshining the bowlers, Lee explained that the ICC is taking steps to ensure that the sport doesn’t become a one-sided show in favour of the batsmen. “The ICC is regulating the width and depth of the bats. It’s a good thing. Another important thing is that the ground needs to be as big as legally possible,” the Australian said.

Concluding the discussion, Lee spoke about the differences that the Australian and New Zealand tracks will have to offer to the participating teams at the World Cup, stating, “Wickets played in India are slow. In Australia, the wickets are traditional, with bounce and pace. The sub-continental players, specifically the minnows, aren’t used to these conditions, especially the bounce at Perth. Thus Australia has a lot of different variables in one country for the World Cup.”

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