England captain Eoin Morgan feels Pakistan are one of the strongest contenders for the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 that starts on 30 May.
Pakistan were recently clean-swept 5-0 by Australia in the United Arab Emirates, and questions were raised over the team's preparedness for the upcoming World Cup. However, Morgan feels that Pakistan are the 'second or third favourites' for the tournament.
England, ranked No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team rankings, have been widely touted as favourites for the mega-event. They are now set to face-off with Pakistan in a one-off T20I on 5 May followed immediately by five ODIs – an exercise that is sure to further sharpen both sides before the World Cup.
"[The Pakistan series] is a nice way to ease into the summer and get some really good, competitive cricket going," said Morgan. "Pakistan are probably second or third favourites for the tournament.
"They hold the Champions Trophy – playing extremely well to win that, in England – so it’s a series we’re all looking forward to."
England have undergone major reform since the previous World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, where they had suffered a humbling first round exit. Since then, they've dominated the fifty-over format, particularly at home.
"Over the four years we’ve been together, we have had so many guys who have contributed to the position we find ourselves," Morgan reflected.
"We’ve gone past a 15-man squad of guys who can contribute into probably an 18-, 19-man squad who could all easily be selected for the final 15. And one benefit from having the Pakistan series in the build-up is that guys who are in form will get opportunities to stake their claim for World Cup positions."
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