There’s still about four months before the much-awaited World Cup in England, but the quadrennial tournament is all anyone in the cricketing fraternity wants to talk about now.
Irrespective of format or country, team selections for various series, players’ performances in them and results of the matches, all spark the same debates – what is their chance of making it to the World Cup, playing the World Cup, winning the World Cup?
The 12th edition of the World Cup this year will feature 10 teams playing for that one coveted trophy from 30 May to 14 July in England and Wales. Australia enter the tournament as defending champions, world no 1 ODI side England have the advantage of playing at home while India have been on a role – winning three ODI away series in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Who then are the favourites to win? Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne among other cricketers, predict.
India Are Favourites: Sachin Tendulkar
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, who was part of six World Cup squads, picked India as favourites to win the tournament this year.
"“I have gone on record saying that we (India) have a perfect balance in the team where we will be competitive in any part of the world or on any surface. As far as our chances are concerned, I will not hesitate in saying that we are the favourites.”" - Sachin Tendulkar
India Are Playing Very Good Cricket: Rahul Dravid
Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid is also confident that the Indian team under Virat Kohli will "peak during next few months" as they go into the World Cup in England as one of the tournament favourites.
"“I think India are playing very good cricket at the moment and go in as one of the favourites. Hopefully, we will peak in the next few months.”" - Rahul Dravid
"Wickets will be very flat in England and I expect it to be quite a high-scoring World Cup. When we were in England with A team, 300 was regularly scored. A lot more runs will be scored compared to the 1999 World Cup, where we used the Dukes white ball. The white Kookaburra with two new balls, revised field restrictions (different Powerplays) are different, so you can't compare the two World Cups," Dravid said, citing how things have changed in the last two decades.
Australia Can Win: Shane Warne
Spin legend Shane Warne believes Australia can clinch their sixth ODI World Cup title this year, if “selectors play their part”.
As I’m putting my #worldcup squad together for my column, I really believe Aust can win it again. As we have the players for the conditions, match winners etc. I think England & India go in as hot favourites, but if the selectors play their part - then the Aussies can 100% win !— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) February 5, 2019
Pakistan Have Very Good Chance: Shoaib Malik
"I feel we have a very good chance to win the tournament. But then having a 'good chance' doesn't mean much. How we play each game and how we perform against the rest of the world will define how far we go," Malik told Sky Sports.
"Yes, we have the ability to win the World Cup hands-down, but abilities don't win you anything, performances do," the 36-year-old added.
England Favourites to Win WC, Ashes: Nasser Hussain
England can win the World Cup and the Ashes series, believes former captain Nasser Hussain.
“You have to go back to 1975 for the last time an English summer contained a World Cup and an Ashes, so it will be absolutely key that the players keep their minds on the job,” Hussain told The Daily Mail.
"“I see England as favourites for both, but they’re only going to win if everyone’s fresh and raring to go. And if that means players missing, say, the Test against Ireland in May, or a one-dayer or two against Pakistan, so be it.”" - Nasser HussainIndia & England are Favourites: Shaun Pollock
Former South African captain Shaun Pollock picked India and England as the two favourites to win the upcoming World Cup.
“There are only 10 teams, and each team plays each other before the semi-finals, but I think there will only be about six teams capable of really competing for the trophy,” said Pollock, as reported by Netwerk24.
"“Australia struggled recently, but I believe the return of Steve Smith and David Warner will make a big difference. New Zealand are currently playing good cricket but I do think India and England are the favourites to win the event.”" - Shaun Pollock . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand Deaths‘Development Alone Doesn’t Win Elections in India’: Ruchir Sharma . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.