Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes has said that while India has a very balanced side, the ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales does not necessarily have any favourites due to the changes in the format of the upcoming competition, which will be played in a round-robin manner, where all 10 participating teams will play each other and the top four sides will qualify for the semi-finals. The 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was also played in a round-robin format, with nine teams participating.
"India might have the fab 15 but there are probably six other teams that might call themselves the same. There are some very strong teams in the World Cup and it will depend on the balanced 11 that they chose on the day, depending on the conditions," Rhodes said to PTI.
"India have got a lot of experience too. Even young players like (Jasprit) Bumrah, is one of the more experienced death bowlers, so from that point of view India will be fancying their chances but there are six other sides, top six.
"And I am not even talking about West Indies, who are ranked seventh. They have started to play decent 50-over cricket again and there is no team that can go into any match of the tournament as favourites. So every game is important, you need those points. The change in format has made it really wide open."
Rhodes has also stated that all-rounder Hardik Pandya to be an important cog in the Indian side, and that he needs to quickly adjust to the 50-overs format.
"Hardik Pandya's role is really important because he is coming as a batsman and a bowler and he has got the knack of taking wickets. But the key is that he needs to quickly adjust because in a T20 game you can face seven balls and bowl may be two overs and make a difference.
"But in a fifty over game if you are going to finish a game, you might have to bat from 35 overs, so that is going to be the difference. And he (Hardik) has got the temperament, he backs himself and he just has to know that he has a job to do (and) it's not about one helicopter shot. It is (about) taking a game through like a Virat Kohli and finishing the match for India."
India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
(With PTI inputs)