New Delhi, May 27: Former Australian all-time great bowler Glenn McGrath in a surprising prediction picked England as the favourites in this ICC World Cup, but also came up with names of India and Australia as other clear contenders based on the form and past history.
McGrath was quoted as saying by 'ESPNcricinfo' recently during his trip to India. "To me England are the favourites going into this World Cup, so I think they'll do very well," former Australian bowler said.
Elaborating on England as favourite for any cricket tournament, McGrath said, 'Probably! I can't remain biased my whole life.' 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.
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."
"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 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."
The pacer announced his retirement from Test cricket on December 23, 2006 with 563 wickets from 124 Test at an average of 21.6 with his Test career coming to an end after the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney in January 2007, while the 2007 World Cup, which marked the end of his one-day career, saw him take 381 wickets averaging 22 and won the man-of-the-tournament award for his outstanding bowling, which was instrumental in Australia winning the tournament. He also played two T20I matches and took 5 wickets.
McGrath is the second most successful fast bowler of all time behind James Anderson and is fifth on the all-time list, with the top three wicket takers Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, Australia Shane Warne and India's Anil Kumble all spin bowlers. (UNI)