BRETT LEE’S OPINION
Australia’s pace attack could be the deciding factor in Ashes
Steve Smith’s side already boast tearaway paceman Mitchell Starc along with the precision of Josh Hazlewood
Mumbai — Australia’s pace attack, emboldened by the return of "once in a generation" bowler Pat Cummins, could prove the difference in the Ashes series against England starting in November, former paceman Brett Lee says.
Steve Smith’s side already boast tearaway paceman Mitchell Starc along with the precision of Josh Hazlewood.
Cummins returned to Test cricket in India after more than five years in the wilderness, replacing injured spearhead Starc and taking eight wickets from the final two matches in Ranchi and Dharamsala. His successful comeback has only bolstered Australia’s already formidable pace resources.
"What Pat Cummins can bring is pace, aggression, control and anything between that. He is a once in a generation bowler," Lee said in an interview at a Mumbai hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea.
The 23-year-old right-armer showed good control and generated enough pace even on the docile surfaces in India to trouble the hosts’ batsmen.
James Pattinson has also been in stellar form in domestic cricket since returning from a 12-month injury layoff in February and the 26-year-old could complete a dream pace quartet for the five-match Ashes series starting in November.
Lee said he would struggle to summon the courage to face such a pace battery. "I would be [scared], absolutely," he said.
"It’s a pretty serious pace barrage that you’ve got. Australian bowling stocks now are pretty healthy."
Lee was also looking forward to seeing how Joe Root, who replaced long-serving Alastair Cook as Test captain, would lead England Down Under. "He’s a class act … his stats back it up as well as prove that he is such an amazing talent," Lee said.
"He’s ranked among the top four, five batsmen in the world. And you throw in the captaincy, I am looking forward to seeing how he goes on the Australian wickets."