ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: If we go by Brian Lara’s words – England’s elusive search for their maiden 50-over World Cup title may get longer. Despite reaching three finals in the 44-year old history of the quadrennial extravaganza, England have failed to get their hands around the coveted trophy. According to Lara, India are the favourites to win the title because hosts England have a history of crumbling under pressure. Eoin Morgan and Co. go into the World Cup as world’s number one ranked team in the ICC rankings, having won ten of their last 11 bilateral ODI series.
They will have to defy the record books to come out on top this summer. The team faltered in the semi-finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy, suffering defeat to eventual winners Pakistan despite impressing in the early stages of the tournament.
“That’s my only worry with England,” Lara told Sportsmail. “I feel like they are going to be in the semi-finals of the World Cup, I think that’s a certainly… (and) I don’t rule England out. ‘(But) the records show that in all-important games, they walk away losers”.
“England tend not to win things – finals – but they are a pretty solid team and they are going to be a big deal in the World Cup”.
Ranked second in the world, Lara can literally envisage India skipper Virat Kohli lifting the silverware at the ‘Home of Cricket’ (Lord’s Cricket Ground) on July 14.
“You are asking teams to play five or six very big games just to qualify and I think consistency is going to play a very important part,” the West Indies legend said.
“I believe India might be the best team in terms of the ability to go throughout the tournament – the variation they have in their bowling, the outstanding batting they have so my pick will be that India will make it through to the final”.
‘Dark Horse’ Windies Will be Team to Beat in Knockouts
Lara also expects the boys from Caribbean island to perform well. After playing a tough versus England at home earlier in the year, Windies not only impressed everyone but also presented their case strongly in the 50-over format.
“I think potentially West Indies are the dark horses,” Lara said. “They have amazing, talented players and they are not in my top four or most people’s top four”.
“But if they get to the semi-finals, teams are going to be scared – they’re not an easy team to play against”.
England’s World Cup chances have seemingly been boosted by the emergence of fast bowler Jofra Archer, who became eligible to play for the team in March.
Lara said of the Barbados-born 24-year-old: ‘He’s a good bowler, he’s very talented – being West Indian you’d expect that. “But he is intelligent and he has all the bowling variations, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s someone you can’t leave out at this stage of his career”.
“You can’t wait four years to see if he’s going to improve, I think he’s ripe, he’s ready and I think it’s a great decision England made to include him”.