As the Indian Premier League is hurtling towards the business end, the focus is now shifting to the all-important World Cup. Foreign players from the different teams are already jetting off to join their respective World Cup squads and now pundits too, are making their predictions about the marquee tournament.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who led his team to the finals of 2003 World Cup, has identified teams he considers most likely to reach semi-finals in the 2019 edition. According to Ganguly, Virat Kohli's Indian side remains one of the top title contenders, but he has also named Australia, England and Pakistan as other sides in contention.
Best possible format for the World Cup
"My pick for the four semifinalists spot would be India, Australia, England and Pakistan. India are one of the title-contenders of course," Ganguly was as quoted by PTI.
Commenting on the format, the former Indian captain said that this was the best possible format for any World Cup and also that the Indian team seems to have all the bases covered. "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 after playing all others. There are no easy sides," said the former captain.
There will be ten teams competing in ODI cricket's biggest extravaganza in a round robin format where every side plays each other before the top four make it through to the semifinals.
If we take a look at the ongoing IPL, the performance of the players who are in the World Cup squad has been impressive. However, Kuldeep Yadav, who has been Kohli's X-factor in ODIs over the last 15 months has looked a pale shadow of himself. However, Dada believes that the young spinner will pick up wickets in the World Cup. "He will get wickets in the World Cup, don't worry. He's a superb bowler," he said.
Commenting on India's World Cup squad, former India captain Rahul Dravid also said that it was a well-balanced side and pitted it as one of the favourites. He also reflected that the pitches on offer this year will result in a lot of high-scoring games and that the current Indian team is well-equipped to get the job done.
"ODIs have changed in England and [you] can't go with the typical mindset that it will be the old English conditions (of swing and seam). Wickets have become flatter, encouraging higher scores," Dravid mentioned.