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Legendary Australia pace bowler Glenn McGrath has admitted that England are favourites to win the 2019 World Cup.
McGrath is not backing England solely due to the fact that the event is being held in their backyard, but also to the brand of ODI cricket they have been playing as of late, which has seen them win 19 of their last 22 matches in the format.
However, while the 47-year-old acknowledged that England could very well win the World Cup for the first time, he pointed out that they need to strive to become even better rather than staying content with where they are at the minute.
“From what I have seen of England’s one-day cricket recently, you would have to make them favourites for next year’s World Cup,” McGrath wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “They have won 19 of their last 22 one-day internationals and if they can continue the way they are going, maintaining that win ratio, keeping the energy with which they play and the same personnel together, they are going to be hard to beat, especially on home soil.
“One word of caution, though: if their planning phase has begun, as appears the case, now is not the time to peak. England face a challenge not just to stay at this level but to get better over the next 12 months.”
As for Australia, they have found themselves in a rut when it comes to ODI cricket. Most recently, they lost to England 4-1.
But, McGrath feels that if Steve Smith’s side are able to shake off the cobwebs and get back to their winning ways, there is a good chance they will be able to retain the trophy they won at the 2015 World Cup on home soil.
“If Australia can change their mindset between now and next year I can see them being the other team in with a chance of winning that World Cup,” he wrote. “If they keep heading the way they are at the moment, they won’t be near the top.
“The Australians play a solid brand of one-day cricket but it’s too similar to how we have always played it. Nowadays it has to be somewhere between the old ODI style and T20.
“That is what this impressive England team have got right. And that’s a sentence I have not been able to say too often this winter.”