Australia bowling great Glenn McGrath, who was the torch-bearer of England-Australia rivalry in early 2000s, has picked England as the favourites going into a World Cup 2019. McGrath, who spearheaded Australia's pace department for close to two decades, never thought one day he would pick arch-rivals England as tournament favourites over his own nation. "England, a very good one-day unit. To me they are the favourites going into this World Cup, so I think they'll do very well," McGrath was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Asked if it was the first time he had picked England over his own nation as tournament favourites, McGrath laughed and said, "Probably! I can't remain biased my whole life.
"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," he added.
Other than England, McGrath named India as one of the toughest teams to beat during the tournament.
"The two standouts to me were India and England, with fingers crossed, Australia doing well. England and India are tough to beat," said the coaching director of MRF Pace Foundation.
After praising the England side for a while, McGrath got back to his usual self and said, "I didn't say they (England) 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."
McGrath cited T20 cricket as the reason behind the recent dominance of teams like India and England in One-day International (ODI) format.
"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," said the winner of player of the tournament award at 2007 World Cup.
Talking about Australia's World Cup chances, McGrath exuded confidence from their recent ODI form. He said, "I was a little bit concerned 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."