Sachin Tendulkar has said India are favourites to win the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, but acknowledged the hosts will be the “toughest contenders”.
India have been in terrific form in one-day international cricket in 2019. In eight ODIs against Australia and New Zealand this year, they won six and lost just two.
“I have gone on record saying that we have a perfect balance in the team where we will be competitive in any part of the world or on any surface,” said Tendulkar told PTI. “As far as our chances are concerned, I will not hesitate in saying that we are the favourites.”
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India answered some vital questions in their 4-1 over New Zealand, but the emergence of Vijay Shankar has given them, and Hardik Pandya, something to ponder.https://t.co/i4Hu8maswg
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) February 3, 2019
India’s only ODI series defeat since the start of 2018 came in a closely-fought three-match series in England. The hosts, Tendulkar thinks, will be the “toughest contenders”.
And while New Zealand were humbled 4-1 at home by India, Tendulkar feels they could spring a surprise.
“My judgement on the toughest contenders would be England, while New Zealand would be the dark horse. I know New Zealand have struggled in this series but it’s a good unit, one needs to be on their toes,” he said.
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Defending champions Australia had to spend most of the past 12 months without ace players Steve Smith and David Warner but with their bans set to end in March, they’re likely to return to the ODI set-up as early as possible.
In their absence, even though Australia lost their most recent ODI series to India 2-1, they pushed their opponents hard, winning one game by 34 runs and taking the other two into the last over. One imagines they’d have a considerable boost once the two return. Tendulkar thinks so too.
“I think Australia at full strength will be a formidable side. With Smith and David Warner back in the team and their other bowlers coming back into the ODI squad, it will be a competitive side.”