Former Australia pacer Brett Lee has said that he believes MS Dhoni's Chennai are favourites to win this year's Indian T20 League given that the pitches in the UAE are spin-friendly.
Chennai have retained most of their core players like Dhoni, Super Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja, who have been a firm backbone of the team for years. That coupled with Shane Watson and Harbhajan Singh further makes them a dangerous unit, and Lee says this is something that might guide them to glory.
“I reckon their strength is that their players are a bit more elderly, mature. They’ve got that youth coming through but they’ve got a lot of players who’ve been around a long, long time and I’d say that’s their greatest strength,” Lee said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
“It’s definitely right up there and that will definitely suit those wickets,” Lee added.
“Recently, I’ve looked at the forecast of the next two or three weeks. It’s 40 degrees, plus the wickets will surely turn. Therefore, I feel Chennai will feel a lot more at home. Imagine all those spinners getting big rips, big turn. I reckon they are definitely suited for this tournament and should definitely be favourites.”
Wants Kohli to enjoy his cricket
Speaking further, Lee also advised Bangalore's skipper Virat Kohli to just enjoy his cricket by taking the pressure off from his shoulders, further commenting that if Bangalore are to really challenge for the Indian T20 League title this year, the players around him need to step up.
Kohli has been captaining the Bangalore team since 2013, and his side remain one of the few teams from the tournament who are yet to lift the trophy. The closest he came was in 2016 when Bangalore squared off against Hyderabad in the final at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, and despite scoring a quick-fire half-century, his team lost the game by eight runs.
And now that this year's edition is being played in new conditions, his team now stand a chance.
“I just want Kohli to go out there and enjoy his cricket, take all the pressure off himself as a captain and player.”
“Because he is so good at that level, I think sometimes with all the pressure going around in the team, people are failing, he tries to get all the players on his back and tries to carry them,” Lee further explained. “All the Bangalore squad should help out in taking all the pressure off Kohli.”F
Bangalore made some significant additions to their squad, roping in the likes of Dale Steyn, Aaron Finch, Joshua Phillip, Chris Morris, and Kane Richardson for the edition, and Lee believes a certain Finch can play a role of vice-captain to Kohli.
“I think Aaron Finch could play the role of vice-captain to Virat Kohli,” Lee added.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Ishara S. Kodikara