Sachin Tendulkar labels Virat Kohli's India as favourites for 2019 ICC World Cup

Sudhir Gupta 5/02/2019
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Sachin Tendulkar is backing India to lift their third World Cup title.

Legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar believes his countrymen are the favourites for the 2019 ICC World Cup to be held in England.

Virat Kohli and his men have been on a roll in the ODI format for some time now and showed their credentials with an impressive 4-1 series victory over the Blackcaps in New Zealand.

The comprehensive victory over New Zealand means that the Men in Blue have now won a staggering 12 out of their last 13 bilateral series in the format since the turn of 2016. The period also includes winning the Asia Cup title in 2018 along with a runners-up finish in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England.

Tendulkar, a member of India’s 2011 World Cup win at home, feels the current side has the ‘perfect’ balance to perform in any given condition when it comes to one-day cricket.

“I have gone on record saying that we have a perfect balance in the team where we will be competitive in any part of the world or on any surface,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI).

“As far as our chances are concerned, I will not hesitate in saying that we are the favourites,” he added.

Tendulkar is backing Kohli's men to do the job in England.

Tendulkar is backing Kohli’s men to do the job in England.

The iconic Indian batsman believes that India’s greatest challenge in the World Cup will come from hosts England who are ranked No1 in the format while he has tagged New Zealand as one of the dark horses.

“It’s all about getting the early momentum. My judgement on the toughest contenders would be England, while New Zealand would be the dark horse,” Tendulkar stated.

“I know New Zealand have struggled in this series but it’s a good unit, one needs to be on their toes.”

The 2019 edition of the World Cup will get underway on May 30 this year with India opening their campaign on June 5 at Southampton against South Africa.

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Martin Guptill.

New Zealand top order batsman Martin Guptill was on Monday ruled out of T20 series against India after failing to recover from a back injury.

Coach Gary Stead revealed Guptill failed a fitness test but expected the hard-hitting opener to recover in time for the ODI series against Bangladesh which starts next week.

“Unfortunately Martin hasn’t recovered in time for this Twenty20 series which is very condensed with three games over five days,” Stead said.

“It’s a shame as he’s obviously a big part of our white-ball sides, but we’ve got to look at the big picture and ensure he gets the injury right.”

Guptill picked up the injury before the fifth ODI against India in Wellington on Sunday which the hosts lost as the series went 4-1 in India’s favour.

Guptill has been replaced by Jimmy Neesham for the three-match T20 series which begins in Wellington on Wednesday.

Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor

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Mitchell Starc led Australia to a 366-run victory over Sri Lanka to secure a 2-0 series win on day four of the second Test in Canberra.

The hosts set Sri Lanka an improbable 516 to level the series after piling up 534 for five declared in their first innings and declaring again at 196 for three on Sunday.

Starc rattled thorough Sri Lanka’s batting order to clinch his second 10-wicket haul in Test cricket and help Australia to their first series win since the 2017-18 Ashes.

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He removed Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Perera in consecutive balls in the 29th over as he took five for 46 to follow up his five for 54 in Sri Lanka’s first innings.

Kusal Mendis top-scored with 42 runs off 69 balls, while Pat Cummins took three for 15.

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