There are no easy teams at the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales comes May 30, but the current Indian team’s strength makes it a favourite to win the coveted trophy, according to former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.
Ganguly has predicted host England alongside defending champion Australia and India's bitter rival Pakistan to reach the final four of the showpiece event.
"My pick for the four semifinalists spot would be India, Australia, England and Pakistan. India are one of the title-contenders of course," Ganguly told PTI.
Ten teams will be competing in the ODI cricket’s quadrennial extravaganza in a round robin format where every team plays each other before the semifinals. Ganguly expects that the current format will make for a 'keenly contested' tournament.
"It’s going to be one of the most keenly contested World Cups. Indian team is so strong that in any tournament they will be favourites. This World Cup will probably be the best format. The best four teams will reach the semi-finals playing all the teams. There are no easy teams," said Ganguly.
Ganguly also backed India's chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav who has had a forgettable IPL 2019 taking just four wickets from nine games at an economy of 8.33. He felt that the left-armer's poor form in the IPL will not affect his performance at the World Cup.
"He will get wickets in the World Cup, don’t worry. He’s a superb bowler," Ganguly said without reading much into Kuldeep’s below-par show for KKR.
The former batsman, who is currently the advisor for Delhi Capitals, also praised the team for its performances this season which saw it climb to second in the table with 14 points from 11 matches.
"Delhi is a mixture of youth and experience. I can only advice so the credit should go to players who actually execute it."
Ganguly expressed his satisfaction working with the team which has been underachieving in the previous editions of IPL.
"I don’t see the challenges as tough, I just find a way to try and make it work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. It’s a great honour to help these players and turn around a team which has not done well in the past," the Delhi Capitals advisor said.
The team has two legends at the helm with Ganguly working alongside his former Aussie counterpart Ricky Ponting who is the head coach of the franchise.
"We are great friends for a long period of time. I was the runners-up in the (2003) World Cup which he had won. He has great experience. It’s been a pleasure working with him. The way he adjusts to player’s needs is a remarkable experience. He’s a fantastic coach," Ganguly said.
Asked about the glitz and glamour of the IPL, Ganguly said: "IPL is pure sport. The glitz and glamour is just 15 per cent. 85% is actually professional, hard cricket. Players are under enormous pressure to perform."
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