Losing Sunrisers Hyderabad captaincy and forgettable performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) will not affect David Warner at the T20 World Cup with Australia, according to former pacer Brett Lee.
Ahead of Australia's 2021 World T20 opener against South Africa, Lee felt that Warner still holds the key for the national side.
"We have not had a lot of success in this format - it is time we changed it and we do have a side that can take it all the way. It obviously won't be easy, especially when you look at how strong teams like England, India and New Zealand are," Lee wrote in a column for the ICC.
"But this Australian side is loaded with talent and for me, the key is David Warner. I would like to say he is saving the runs for the games that count after his IPL form! He was really harshly dealt with there and it may have knocked some confidence out of him but he thrives on the big stage. Everything should be rosy for him here, class is permanent."
Lee also praised the pace trident of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, describing Cummins as a bowler with the golden touch.
"I will also put a lot of weight behind Mitchell Starc. There has been some debate in the last year about Starc being past his best but he would be in my team every single time, Josh Hazlewood has had a good IPL and Pat Cummins is a superstar. He is the David Beckham of the team, whatever he touches turns to gold!."
Lee wrote that South Africa are a formidable side despite their past history as they are similar to Australians as a sporting nation.
"They have guys who can take the game away within four or five overs and it will be a real test. I think South Africa are closer to the Australian culture than any other nation, in terms of sport. New Zealand are obviously closer geographically but South Africans are abrasive on the sports field. They are always in your face and I love that, it's great. It is also why they have been so successful in all formats. I know they will give Australia a red-hot crack."
Lee also believed that nations from the sub-continent should excel in the UAE conditions and as he predicted Indian opener KL Rahul to finish as the tournament's top-scorer.
"I think India are probably the favourites with their top four or five batters and their bowling attack. I have KL Rahul down as the top run-scorer in the tournament and Mohammed Shami to be the leading wicket-taker, purely going on the last few months.