"Sometimes, the easy option is to blame someone (for a defeat). I would say to anyone on social media who wants to put someone under pressure – you go out there. Do it with 2 billion people watching and see how you go," said Brett Lee, speaking about the relentless trolling faced by Indian pacer Arshdeep Singh following India's loss to Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
Lee is currently in India as Jacob's Creek's brand ambassador and sat down for an interview with The Quint, in which he addressed Arshdeep, Hardik Pandya, and his 25-year-long relationship with the country.
India's early exit from the Asia Cup on the back of two defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka came as a surprise to many, as Rohit Sharma's team went in as favourites. Did you expect a Super Four exit for India?
Not that I saw it coming, but I know how good Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been playing recently. The hardest thing is, when you chase second, it becomes a little easy sometimes. So, there are some factors there that can explain the defeats, but at the end of the day, India need to sharpen up a little bit – few things with the field, few decisions with their bowling that they could do differently.
But we've got the T20 World Cup coming in Australia, so that's exciting. I think it will suit India. Don't write off India. They have a very very good chance.
What are your thoughts on Arshdeep Singh and the tough time he's had with so many attacking him after that dropped catch and India's loss to Pakistan?
When you bowl at the death, the limelight is on you. So, you have to deliver. And if you don't, you can get blamed for your team's loss. That has happened to me on numerous occasions. Numerous times where you make that wrong call, you bowl that wrong ball, you don't quite hit your area, and you might get a four or six. But look, that's cricket.
He will learn from that. I think he still has what it takes to be a very efficient death bowler. So, what I am saying is, stick with him, don't destroy the young kid now.
And as a member of the commentary team and the press, I guess, sometimes the easy option these days is to blame someone. I would say to anyone on social media and the press who want to put someone under pressure – you go out there and try and do it with 2 billion people watching, and see how you go.
What are your thoughts on Hardik Pandya? He's missed so much international cricket due to his injury, but what a way to announce your return!
Someone like Hardik Pandya is a quality player because he is three-dimensional. Batting... hits a long ball, very good with the ball, and great on the field. You don’t often find... he is a genuine all-rounder.
I think 'all-rounder' is sometimes given out too easily – he is a genuine all-rounder. Who is an all-rounder? It's someone who can win the game with the bat or the ball. And he does both. So, he is a great asset for India going to Australia, and those wickets in Australia will suit his style of bowling.
He also loves the ball coming on, and with the balls coming on, he can hit some big shots.
Who is the one player who stood out for you this Asia Cup?
There have been a number of players. I think the Pakistani fast-bowlers have been very good; they are a team to watch out for.
Not so impressed, but I want more from Bhuvneshwar Kumar because I know how good he is. He is world-class. So, I want to see Bhuvi continue to make sure he swings the ball both ways and keeps his pace over 140. He is part of a wolf pack. If he leads from the front in Australia, I believe that the Indian bowling attack can work around someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
We see you in India often. Could you tell us the reason for your trip this time?
I've been to India for 25 or so years now. It's been fun. I am here because of my association with Jacob's Creek, which is a beautiful Australian wine. They also have an association with the ICC; they're a major partner. So, when you think about the World Cup this year in Australia, you're going to think about Jacob's Creek being behind this.