Former India captain Sourav Ganguly thinks that Pakistan will enter World Cup 2019 as one of the favourites as they have remarkable record playing in England, especially during ICC events. That is the reason why he picked Pakistan alongside India, hosts England and Australia to reach the semifinal of the marquee tournament. England has always been a happy hunting ground for Pakistan during world tournaments. Their recent success in multi-nation tournament in England came when they defeated India in the final of 2017 Champions Trophy.
"Pakistan's record in world tournaments in England is remarkable. They won the Champions Trophy two years ago, they won the 2009 World T20 in England," Ganguly told PTI on the sidelines of a promotional programme.
Ganguly also cited the recent example of Pakistan's second ODI against England, in which they almost chased down a mammoth 374 before going down by only 12 runs.
"Pakistan always play well in England. You see the last game in England. England got 374 and Pakistan just lost by 12 runs. They also beat England in England in Test matches there because of their bowling lineup."
Ganguly, however, was quick to add that Virat Kohli's men should not be wary of Pakistan and they would prove to be strong contenders.
"I don't believe in records. Both of them will have to play well on that particular day. India will be a very good side. They will be very hard to beat. Team which has the likes of Kohli, Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan can't be weak."
Royal Challengers Bangalore's repeated failures in the Indian Premier League have put the spotlight on Kohli's leadership skills but Ganguly said Indian captaincy is a different ball game. He insisted that Virat Kohli's IPL captaincy will not have an impact in the World Cup as he enjoys a good record as an ODI skipper.
"Don't compare Virat Kohli's IPL captaincy record with that of India. His captaincy records for India is very good actually. He's got him in his team as the vice-captain. Dhoni is there. So he's well supported," said Ganguly.
Starting as one of the favourites, India would be under tremendous pressure but Ganguly felt it would bring out the best from Kohli and Co.
"So it's good that India is under pressure, every other team in the World Cup will be under pressure. You don't want to turn up like a Nepal or an Ireland where the entire world thinks that you're not going to win.
"You rather turn up like an India or an Australia or an England where everybody says this team is going to win the World Cup. So Virat, probably being the best player of the world at the moment, is as much under pressure as anybody else and that will be good for him because he will turn up, work hard, he will be pumped and get India going."
Ganguly said it would be an interesting World Cup as all 10 teams will play each other before the best four qualify for the knockouts.
"It's a great World Cup because all 10 teams play against each other and the best four qualify. There are strong teams and you realise England, Pakistan, West Indies all can win.
"So it's good that India is under pressure because it will help them perform and it's going to be exciting 55 days of cricket," Ganguly said.
(With PTI inputs)