Ahead of Australia’s opening fixture against South Africa on October 23 in Abu Dhabi, Brett Lee has stated that David Warner was dealt harshly in the IPL, and that may have knocked off his confidence. He further added that Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood’s form will be crucial for Australia.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) removed David Warner from the captaincy during the Indian leg of IPL 2021, and Kane Williamson was appointed as the franchise's new captain. Things got worse when the Australian opener got excluded from the playing XI after featuring in only two matches in the UAE leg of the tournament. However, Warner was seen in the stands supporting his franchise till their final fixture in the Gulf country.
Later, after the conclusion of the IPL 2021, Warner himself stated that no explanation was given by the SRH management for sacking him as the team's captain. Warner was expected to fire in the T20 World Cup warm-up matches, but the Australian opener ended up with scores 0 and 1 in his outing against New Zealand and India respectively.
Meanwhile, Brett Lee has stated that Warner was dealt very harshly in the IPL, and that may have knocked some confidence out of him. The former Australian pacer further added that Warner’s class is permanent and he will retain his momentum in the upcoming matches.
"We have not had a lot of success in this format - it is time we changed it and we do have a side that can take it all the way. It obviously won't be easy, especially when you look at how strong teams like England, India and New Zealand are," Lee wrote in a column for the ICC
"But this Australian side is loaded with talent and for me, the key is David Warner. I would like to say he is saving the runs for the games that count after his IPL form! He was really harshly dealt with there and it may have knocked some confidence out of him but he thrives on the big stage. Everything should be rosy for him here, class is permanent," Lee said.
"I will also put a lot of weight behind Mitchell Starc. There has been some debate in the last year about Starc being past his best but he would be in my team every single time, Josh Hazlewood has had a good IPL and Pat Cummins is a superstar. He is the David Beckham of the team, whatever he touches turns to gold," he added.
Brett Lee, who has featured in 221 ODIs, 76 Tests, and 25 T20Is for Australia further reckoned that Team India have a well-balanced side, and they are the favorites to lift the trophy. He further backed KL Rahul to become the top run-scorer and Mohammed Shami to be the leading wicket-taker in the showpiece event.
"I think India are probably the favourites with their top four or five batters and their bowling attack. I have KL Rahul down as the top run-scorer in the tournament and Mohammed Shami to be the leading wicket-taker, purely going on the last few months,” he added.
India will start their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.