Former speed merchant Brett Lee reckons India’s pace attack which consists of the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are capable of ‘knocking over any top order’. Lee, rated as one of the fastest bowlers of all-time, reckons the emergence of Indian fast bowlers into the scene have made Virat Kohli’s men a force to reckon with in all formats. Lee feels even though Australia hold an edge during the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the hosts will find it tough to get the better of Team India.

“India have got some extremely good pace bowlers that are capable of knocking over any top order. Once again, I think it comes down to how the ball will swing or not swing in different conditions (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney),” Lee was quoted by PTI in an exclusive interview.

“Playing at home obviously gives you that advantage, but that said I know that India will pack a full-strength squad to tour Australia. I still believe if Australia is to win our bowlers hold the key.”

The 43-year-old Lee feels Australia’s pace triumvirate would hold the key during the year-end home Test series against India and is keen to figure out how much the kookaburra ball swings without saliva Down Under. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood form a fine pace attack for Australia.

With the ban on saliva due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee wants the custodians of the game to come up with an “artificial substance” to maintain the balance between bat and ball.

“Playing at home obviously gives you that advantage, but that said I know that India will pack a full-strength squad to tour Australia. I still believe if Australia is to win our bowlers hold the key,” Lee said.

The kookaburra seam is not as pronounced as Dukes or SG Tests balls and the flattening of seam coupled with ban on saliva will make it harder for bowlers of both teams.

“It will definitely change the way the game is played so we don’t want to make it even harder for bowlers even more than it is currently is,” Lee said.

And that is precisely the reason why Lee won’t mind if an artificial substance is allowed even though his answer to whether ball-tampering should be legalised was an emphatic no.

“Essentially you do need saliva to keep the new ball shiny and also the old ball to reverse swing. Usually (fast bowlers) use less saliva on a new ball compared to the old one.

“Maybe they need to come up with some artificial substance that they can use,” the holder of 310 Test wickets asserted.

The best part about Australian cricket teams have been their iconic captains who have set benchmarks, said Lee.

“Yes Australia have had some wonderful leaders which involves set the tone for the generations to follow. I was very lucky to play under two of my favourites in Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting,” said Lee, referring to the likes of Ian Chappell, Allan Border and Mark Taylor who preceded them.

Does he feel that Tim Paine can earn the same kind of respect consistently in a change room that has powerhouse performers like Steve Smith and David Warner.

“I think Tim Paine has done a tremendous job and should be complimented for the way that he has led the side. Keeping in mind he’s had a few dramas to deal with, he’s still the right man for the job,” Lee said.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, all cricket boards are going through financial stress and Cricket Australia is no different. The speedster hoped that some normalcy will return in future.

“As any person in the workforce any time there is a pay cut that it definitely will affect them. Let’s hope we get back to some form of normality as soon as possible.”