With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season done and dusted, the entire focus is back on the upcoming World Cup, which is scheduled to start from May 30 in England and Wales. The World Cup will see Australia defend the prestigious title, which they won by defeating the Kiwis in the finals of 2015 edition in their own backyard. Majority of the former cricketers have already stated their predictions for the upcoming 50-overs quadrennial event and now former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes is the latest person on the list.
Jonty Rhodes, whose picture of flying to run out Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq in his first World Cup in 1992 remains an eternal advertisement of limited-overs cricket, is not eager to pick any of the sides as the favourites to win the tournament.
During a recent interview, Jonty Rhodes mentioned that India might have the strongest team for this mega event, but there are also six other teams who are big contenders as well. The former cricketer noted that there are very strong teams in this battle and eventually it will come down on the balance of the playing XI. Rhodes also revealed that the conditions in England will be a key criterion.
“India might have the fab 15 but there are probably six other teams that might call themselves the same. There are some very strong teams in the World Cup and it will depend on the balanced 11 that they chose on the day, depending on the conditions,” Jonty Rhodes was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
It is really wide open
“And I am not even talking about West Indies, who are ranked seventh. They have started to play decent 50-over cricket again and there is no team that can go into any match of the tournament as favourites. So every game is important, you need those points. The change in format has made it really wide open,” he added.
The upcoming World Cup will be contested in a round-robin format, the same which was followed in the 1992 edition. On that occasion, the number of teams was nine with Zimbabwe being the only non-Test-playing nation. This time, however, all 10 teams are Test-playing while two more Test-playing nations – Zimbabwe and Ireland – missed out.
“I want to see more associate countries play in the World Cup, but as a spectator you are seeing the best players on the world stage and that is going to mean that every game is important,” Rhodes concluded.