The last time India toured Australia was in 2018-19 when the Indian team led by Virat Kohli made history by beating Australia 2-1 in a four match series to register their first Test series win on Australian soil.
India is scheduled to travel to Australia for three T20I series, 3 ODI series, and four Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series matches. The four tests are scheduled to be played at The Gabba (Brisbane), Adelaide Oval (Adelaide), MCG (Melbourne) and SCG (Sydney).
Looking forward to the big series, former Australian cricketer Brett Lee, who has been part of many unforgettable India vs Australia clashes, spoke to TimesofIndia.com about why he considers India-Australia competition to be important to world cricket.
“This tour is very important. Whenever India gets a chance to tour Australia or vice versa. There is always Australia versus England in Ash. That’s always the highlight. I believe now that this (India vs. Australia) is definitely equivalent. When Australia plays India in the Test series, it is definitely there with the best competition to watch and the best competition. “Obviously no love is lost, but both countries appreciate the cricket they play,” Lee told Timesoifindia.com in an exclusive interview from Sydney.
The 43-year-old also stressed the fact that India’s tour of Australia is not only important for fans, but also for Australian cricket and cricket players.
“In the situation that we went through with COVID-19, I think everyone has been in their home for several months. If there are several ways we can play cricket in Australia, and I’m sure we can, in a few months, I think it’s very important for world cricket. This is very important for Australian cricket, but also, important for players. The players (India and Australia) like to play against each other. I see this as a silver lining of what has become very dark, late summer and low winter for us. Certainly for you too. But this is a terrible time in the world and I know we cannot change death, we cannot change what has happened, but hopefully, playing sports will make people smile, “Lee, who took 718 international goals for Australia (all formats) including) said.
The 2020 T20 World Cup was originally scheduled to be played in Australia from 18 October to 15 November, but given the current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like the big tournament will be postponed, maybe until 2022. India is scheduled to host the 2021 World Cup Q20.
As one of the most feared bowling players of his generation and the two-time winner of the ICC Cricket World Cup with Australia, Lee believes the mega event was postponed by the world cricket body.
“My honest view is that it (the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia) will be pushed back. I think the ICC is trying its best to manage. It is very difficult to manage 16 teams. Point. Even when there is no COVID-19. It is very difficult to get 16 teams in one country. That requires a lot of organization. But when you throw a pandemic that we are going through and what the world has gone through, and they bring 16 countries to travel, it is a big task. So, I think the ICC might do the right thing and just take as much time as possible to try to make sure they know the situation in Australia exactly. But my hunch was they would push him back. And if they have a window to push it back, then why not? If it’s safer to push it back, push it back, ”Lee, who played 76 Tests, 221 ODI, and 25 T20I for Australia further told TimesofIndia.com.
The unfortunate and heartbreaking death of African-American George Floyd in America, sparked anti-racism movements around the world – Black Lives Matter (BLM). Floyd’s murder sparked widespread protests around the world and cross-sports athletes have added their voices to strengthen the protest.
The message of anti-racism was also seen at the beginning of the West Indies vs. English Test series, when players from both teams and officials knelt down, with West Indian players raising their hands to express their solidarity with the movement. Players on both teams also wear the Black Lives Matter message logo on their shirts.
Brett Lee also spoke about the importance of this movement, saying there is no place in the world for racism.
“I think that’s also the way you were raised by your parents and your family. That’s how you grew up in school. And fortunately for us as sportsmen, we have a good platform to get good messages. My view is that there should be no place in the world for racism. There should never be racism at work. And there should never be racism in the household but also in sports. But, sometimes, unfortunately, that happens and I think it is the role of players on a large world platform to show their views on that, “Lee, who conducted his debut test against India in December 1999, told TimesofIndia.com.
With the Coronavirus pandemic tearing up the international sports calendar to pieces, sports, both domestic and international, are trying to return to normal form and Lee is happy to see the return of sport in Australia under strict guidelines.
“At the moment there are several sports that are played (in Australia), which are exciting. There are AFL (Australian Football League for Australian rule soccer) and NRL (National rugby league). There are clearly strict guidelines and conditions around it. Sports are being played in empty stadiums. And as time goes by, hopefully, after everything dies again, then you will see more open sporting events. You will see cricket will play a role again. You will see other big sports come into play. So, I do not think we are too far away. But as I said, we will be very aware of what we do here, “Lee said.
Lee, who played for the Kings XI Punjab franchise and Kolkata Knight Riders IPL, now has another Indian connection, as an ambassador for the digital platform SportsAdda.
“When I found out and we had a conversation and had the opportunity to join and become ambassadors, I immediately did it because I thought this was a great opportunity for the audience that they wanted to go to and really saw what we could do.” Lee signed.