ICC Cricket World Cup: England to me are probably the favourites, says Steve Waugh
- Another Australian World Cup winning captain backs England to win the World Cup this year. Will this be finally their year?
What's the story?
Former Australian captain and the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup winner, Steve Waugh has said that when it comes to the top contenders for this year's competition, he can't think of any team other than England as the favorites.
Waugh, a four-time World Cup participant, also believes that the returns of Steve Smith and David Warner to the national side should spell ominous signs for opponents at the tournament set to start in just over a week's time now in England and Wales.
In case you didn't know...
Waugh is considered to be one of the top batsman of his era, having breached the 10,000 run-mark in Test cricket during his career that lasted over almost two decades.
He will be remembered for his extraordinary spells as the captain of Australia's Test team, in which he led the team to victory in 41 matches of the 57 matches under his leadership, maintaining an impressive win ratio of 72%.
Australia have won four of the last five editions of the tournament, including in 1999 when the competition last took place in England, under Waugh.
The heart of the matter...
Australia have been handed a boost for their World Cup hopes, as Smith and Warner, who spent a year each, out of the Australian side to serve bans for ball-tampering, have now joined their squad.
With little over a week's time left for the once-in-a-four-year extravaganza to kick-off, Waugh delivered his verdict on the potential winners of the competition and said that he would bet his money on hosts England this time around, ahead of his own country, joining his compatriot and former teammate Ricky Pointing, who also delivered a similar verdict, in praise of England. He told ICC's official website,
“England to me are probably the favorites - their form has been outstanding over the last couple of years. They are playing at home."
"Probably Australia and India on that second line of favoritism.”
He also said that Australia are more dangerous than ever, courtesy the return of Warner and Smith to the squads, which makes Aussies a strong contenders to move into the knock-out stages of the competition. He added,
“Their form was very poor, but all of a sudden, they’ve won their last eight matches, and they’ve got Smith and Warner in the team."
“Australia will be one of the teams… probably not the favourite for the tournament, but the team that other sides will be probably most fearful of. They could do some damage. So I think Australia could go really deep in the tournament."
The tournament kicks off on 30th May, with a exciting fixture between England and South Africa. Australia's campaign will commence on 1st June against underdogs Afghanistan.Published 20 May 2019, 20:00 IST