With a few days before the 2019 World Cup (May 30) gets underway, it is time for the prediction hats to come off the closet. The upcoming showpiece event will see Australia defend the prestigious title, which they won by defeating the Kiwis in the finals of 2015 edition in their own backyard. The most recent person to put forth his prediction for the coming 50-overs quadrennial tournament is former Australian cricketer and two-times World Cup winning skipper, Ricky Ponting.
The 44-year-old Ponting, who is the only other captain to win two consecutive World Cups apart from Clive Lloyd, was picked in February as the assistant coach of the Australian team. The former cricketer, however, hasn’t picked his own country as the probable champions in the upcoming tournament. Instead, he has backed hosts England who just thrashed Pakistan 4-0 in an ODI series at home.
England ranked No.1 in ODIs came up with a monstrous batting display in the series against Pakistan, hitting 350 runs on an average in every game. The fact that England are also playing this World Cup at home makes them even more dangerous. The Three Lions have never won the ICC title in 50-overs cricket and finished as finalists thrice in three separate decades.
They will have some home advantage
During a recent interview, Ricky Ponting mentioned that he has picked England as favorites for two reasons, one being they have played really well in the recent times in the limited-overs format and then they are playing at home. However, Ponting also noted that hosts England will be challenged by India and Australia.
“Initially, it would be England for two reasons. England have started playing well in limited overs and the tournament will be played on home. Naturally, they will have some home advantage. But they will be challenged by India and Australia,” Ricky Ponting was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
The former Australia skipper, who was also one of their most prolific batsmen, felt the edition this year will be an open contest since it will be played in a round-robin format with each team playing the other before the top four point-earners making the semi-finals.
He also spoke highly about teams like Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa, saying although England are the clear favourites, there are other strong teams who can cause upsets as well.