The ICC World Cup 2019 has well and truly begun. The different captains addressed a press conference ahead of the campaign and answered a host of questions. The biggest question which was asked, revolved around the side which would go ahead and win the World Cup. While the captains conceded that it would be a very closely contested tournament, they all pretty much believed that England is the favourites.
This is what the different captains had to stay at the press conference:
Aaron Finch, Australia captain
The Australian captain welcomed both David Warner and Steve Smith back in the fold and believed his side is very confident about defending their title.
"I think, England has been in great form over the last couple of years and along with India, they've probably been the standout performers. So you'd have to say England are definitely the favourites."
Virat Kohli, India captain:
"The way I look at it, there's always going to be a huge fan-base for us anywhere we play in the world. But I have to agree with Aaron, I think England is probably - in their conditions - the strongest side in this tournament.
He further added, "But I also agree with Morgs, that all ten teams are well balanced and strong. The fact that this is a tournament where we have to play everyone once, makes it all the more challenging. I think that's going to be the best thing about this tournament, I see this as probably one of the most competitive World Cups that people are going to see."
Eoin Morgan, England captain
England skipper Eoin Morgan said, "I don't think anyone is head and shoulders above anyone else. These are the ten best teams in the world, it will be extraordinarily competitive and some quality cricket will be played so we are really looking forward to it."
"Every captain sitting here would lose their left leg to play in a World Cup final at the home of cricket. It's something every one of us would have dreamed of as a kid. We are as best prepared as we can be. We just want to play that first game now," Morgan added.
Faf du Plessis, South captain
The South African captain wants to be the first skipper to lead his side to the finals of this marquee event and wants his side to play with a lot of freedom on the day. He also believed that the bowlers of the different sides hold the key and they might well be the difference at the end of the day.
"We are all really excited to try out this new tournament, to play every once I think is great. The way we use our resources will be vital, but every team has match winning bowlers that will have a big say in the successes of the side."
"I think the bowlers will win it, the teams still in it towards the end of the tournament will be the teams that have done really well with the ball," du Plessis said.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, Pakistan captain
The Pakistan skipper sounded confident about his side being able to replicate the performance of the 2017 Champions Trophy.
"All the teams are really balanced. I think people are going to watch some great cricket. Since winning the World Cup in 1992, making the final in 1999 here in England and the Champions Trophy in 2017, we are confident we will do well," Sarfaraz said.
Kane Williamson, New Zealand captain
Back in 2015, New Zealand stumbled in the final against Australia, but the skipper is hopeful that his side can lay their hands on the coveted trophy this time.
"There are a few guys in the squad from the last World Cup, which is great. But four years in between means there are a lot of new players. There have been talks about rankings, favourites, underdogs but what stands out is how balanced it is. Which means anything can happen on the day, which is so exciting," Williamson said.
Jason Holder, West Indies captain
West Indies are widely tipped to be the team to watch out for and the skipper believes this format allows his side to give it their best shot.
"It is a very exciting format. In the past, you could play five or six games, and that could be it. To play every side is great for us. We worked hard in the qualifiers to get here, which means we are in the top ten in the world, we want to play them all and give ourselves a shot. The team that wins will definitely deserve it."
Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka captain
Sri Lanka appointed a new skipper in Dimuth Karunaratne just before the World Cup and the captain believes his side is in good shape since they came early to acclimatise to the conditions.
"We have great experience in England, we came here early to get used to the conditions and we are in good shape, hoping to do our best. It is not going to be easy though. We are confident and we will take each game at a time."
Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan captain
Perhaps the most exciting team in the competition, Afghanistan can be giant slayers on any particular day and the new skipper wants his side to enjoy themselves in front of packed houses.
"We are excited to be here, in front of the cricket world and to play the best teams. To represent Afghanistan in the World Cup feels great and we are looking forward to it. There will be a huge audience at home in all the different provinces. Cricket is not just a sport now, in Afghanistan it has become something else."
Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh captain
With a good mix of youth and experience, Bangladesh looks like a settled unit and can be a threat in this format and this is what their captain Mashrafe Mortaza is banking on.
"We have got a great bunch of boys, a good mix of seniors and juniors coming on. Cricket is a game that anyone on their day can beat anybody. If we start well we can hang in there. We are confident that we will do well, but a lot depends on the start," Mortaza said.