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Aakash Chopra names India favourites to lift World Cup in England - Times of India

MUMBAI: Former India opener Aakash Chopra on Saturday named two-time champions India as favourites to lift the ICC Cricket World Cup next year in England.

The ex-Delhi batsman also felt that Ambati Rayudu has done whatever possible to seal the number four spot in the team, an opinion he shares with three-time ODI double centurion Rohit Sharma.

"Well, India start as favourites irrespective of how far the World Cup is at this point of time and I see them at the podium holding the trophy, hopefully. They do have whatever it takes to win the trophy," said Chopra on sidelines of the ICC World Cup Trophy Tour with Nissan Kicks at a mall in suburban Malad here.

"This is the team that has a lot of things going in its favour. The bowling is outstanding and you have got some of the finest batsmen. So a lot of things are in India's favour and hopefully England will be nice and accommodating for us as it has happened in the past the two Champion Trophies - finalists once, winners once. So hopefully in the 2019 World Cup - we will be able to pick up the trophy," he remarked.

The World Cup starts on May 30 with South Africa taking on hosts England, while 1983 and 2011 champions India begin their campaign on June 5 against South Africa at Southampton.

On Rayudus sealing the number 4 spot, the 33-year-old Chopra said, "Well, we tried a dozen batsmen at number 4 but now it feels that Ambati has sealed the deal. His boarding pass, in my opinion, is already printed for that flight to England. I see him batting in England at number 4 unless something drastic happens in the meantime."

Rayudu had scored 100 in the fourth ODI against West Indies while batting at number 4 and, after the game, Rohit Sharma had said Rayudu had solved the number 4 mystery of the team.

According to Chopra, it was up to the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to take a call on skipper Kohli's suggestion to rest his fast bowlers during the IPL in view of the World Cup that follows in close succession.



"Virat has already asked for his main bowlers to be rested (during IPL) and BCCI still has to take a call with regards to that and it may not just be for the bowlers, it may also be for batsmen. There will be some amount of work-load management leading towards the World Cup," he said.

Chopra saw the tour of New Zealand by India, where they play five ODI matches, after the ongoing tour of Australia as yet another opportunity for the team to fine tune itself for the World Cup.

"But you do need to tick a few boxes. The more you play the better you get, the more you get to know who is going to be your finisher, who is going to be your third seamer.

"So, from that vantage point the series of New Zealand is important, but the outcome of that series will have no bearing on what happens in June and July," said Chopra, who played 10 Tests matches.



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