Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf sees Pakistan as the favourites to win the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
Not only do Pakistan have a young squad full of talented players, but they also won the Champions Trophy in England last year.
Given all this, Yousuf feels that Pakistan have the opportunity to taste World Cup glory for the first time since current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan led they to victory in 1992.
However, Yousuf also admitted that India and England have a decent chance of triumphing at the quadrennial tournament.
“Three teams are genuine contenders in my opinion,” he told PakPassion. “The last two Champions Trophy tournaments have been won by India and Pakistan respectively and I believe that both of these teams have the ability to win the World Cup.
“I think spinners will play a key role and both India and Pakistan have fantastic spin options. India has a wonderful array of batting talent but I think there are some doubts over their bowlers particularly their pace bowlers as was evident in the recent One-Day series against England.
“Coming to the hosts, I feel that England will have home advantage and they are looking formidable at the moment in One-Day cricket and they will be a force at the World Cup. The only other team that may stand an outside chance is Australia but they really need to get all of their man players back from bans, from injuries and then firing on all cylinders. If you have players like David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood at your disposal then you may have a chance, but the fact is that Australia look a pale shadow of the team they once were.”
He added: “I think Pakistan are the favourites and I say that because I feel they have the best bowling attack particularly on flat tracks. When I say best, I mean they have the best-balanced attack and an attack which has the ability to take wickets regularly and not let the opposition settle.
“Another key factor is that Pakistan will not be relying on part-time bowlers, they have six or seven genuine bowlers in the team and that is something that not many of the teams participating at the World Cup will have at their disposal. Also, on the sort of flat tracks that will be available in England at that time, the team with the best bowling attack will succeed and I believe that bowling attack belongs to Pakistan.”