[UK], May 27 (ANI): Former Australia cricketer Glenn McGrath named arch-rivals England as the favourites for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, beginning May 30.
"England (are) a very good one-day unit. To me, they are the favourites going into this World Cup, so I think they will do very well," ESPNcricinfo quoted McGrath, as saying.
The 49-year-old retired from the international cricket after receiving the Player of the Tournament title in the 2007 edition of the World Cup, which Australia won.
McGrath was part of an Australia side that regularly defeated England. However, England's improvement in the one-day cricket has forced the Australian to back Eoin Morgan-led side.
"You've got to go on current form. The England team - the way they go about it, they have impressed me. They have scored some big, big totals. Most teams used to go hard in the first 15 and the last 15, and consolidate in the middle," he said.
However, this was not the first time McGrath termed any team as his favourites.
"But teams like England, India are just going hard the whole 50 overs, and that's the impact T20 cricket has had. So yeah, I don't think I've ever said 'England are the team to beat' or the 'favourites'. I didn't say they were going to win the World Cup though! So they are the favourites and are going to be tough to beat in their own conditions, but fingers crossed, Australia can do well," he said.
Apart from England, McGrath picked India and Australia as clear contenders based on their respective history.
"The two standouts to me were India and England, with fingers crossed, Australia doing well. South Africa are always a good team, West Indies are a bit of a dark horse - they can play really well or badly, probably similar to Pakistan. So it's going to be an interesting World Cup. England and India are tough to beat, but with Australia's form, I think we'll see them make the final."
"I was a little bit concerned about how Australia were going to go, but their form of late has really impressed me. They've performed really well in conditions that are not suited to them, so that bodes well for their chances. I'd like to think that they'll make the finals. India are a quality one-day unit as well. They'll be in the running," McGrath said.
World Cup is scheduled to run from May 30 to July 14 in the UK. England will meet South Africa in the curtain-raiser at The Oval. (ANI)