Former England captain Michael Atherton has said that Team India will be the favourites at the upcoming T20 World Cup later this year. However, Atherton added that it won't be a cakewalk for the Men in Blue and picked England and West Indies as two other challengers for the title.
India won the series decider against England on Saturday by 36 runs to clinch the five-match T20I series 3-2.
Michael Atherton also opined that India have terrific bench strength, thanks to the IPL, while also pointing out that the hosts were without some key bowlers in the T20I series against England.
"I think so (On being asked whether India are the favourites to win the next T20 World Cup). They probably have more strength in depth because of the IPL and the T20 cricket they play and the fact they have just beaten England without probably three main bowlers. Put all those things together, and the fact they are playing at home, then they are the team to beat," the 52-year-old said.
Atherton talked highly about England and the West Indies' chances of winning the T20I World Cup as well, saying in this regard:
"It won’t be a cakewalk – England are a very good side, and West Indies and other sides are dangerous as well – but if you priced it up, you would say India are favourites".
India produced a near-perfect performance on Saturday after being asked to bat first.
The hosts piled on a mammoth 224 runs on the board, thanks to Virat Kohli's 80*, Rohit Sharma's 64 and cameos by Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya.
In reply, the visitors were in the chase when Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan were in the middle. But after the duo's dismissal, their chase crumbled, and the visitors fell short by 36 runs.
"Totally outplayed the opposition"- Virat Kohli on India's win in fifth T20I
Virat Kohli was a satisfied man after his team emerged victorious in the all-important series decider against England in Ahmedabad.
The Indian captain branded his team's win as a 'complete' performance, suggesting his side ticked all the boxes. He said in this regard:
"It was a complete game for us. Totally outplayed the opposition. Even with so much dew coming in, like (in the) last game, we've defended the total again. We put good runs on the board (again), and today was a complete game. I mean, the fact that Rishabh and Shreyas did not even get a chance to bat, and we still got close to 230 is a testimony to what we can do with the bat when everyone fires and we play the way we always do."
The two teams will now travel to Pune for a three-match ODI series, which starts on March 23. After losses in the Test and T20I series, the reigning world champions will look to end their tour on a high by clinching the ODI series.