Pakistan great Mohammad Yousuf has named his former side as favourites to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Yousuf, who played at three World Cups for his country - including the last time it was held in England and Wales in 1999 – sees Pakistan as genuine challengers next year.
The former Pakistan captain believes the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 winners have the best bowling attack to deal with conditions in England and Wales.
“I think Pakistan are the favourites,” he told Pak Passion. “I say that because I feel they have the best bowling attack, particularly on flat tracks.
“When I say best, I mean they have the best-balanced attack. An attack which can take wickets regularly and not let the opposition settle.
“Another key factor is that Pakistan will not be relying on part-time bowlers, they have six or seven genuine bowlers in the team and that is something that not many of the teams participating at the World Cup will have at their disposal.
“On the sort of flat tracks that will be available in England at that time, the team with the best bowling attack will succeed. I believe that bowling attack belongs to Pakistan.”
While India have three batsmen in the top ten of the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Batting Rankings – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan – Yousuf fears their bowling attack may prove to be their downfall at the World Cup.
“The last two Champions Trophy tournaments have been won by India and Pakistan respectively and I believe that both of these teams have the ability to win the World Cup.
“India has a wonderful array of batting talent, but I think there are some doubts over their bowlers, particularly their pace bowlers as was evident in the recent one-day series against England.”
Given their status as the No. 1 side in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Teams Rankings, it’s no surprise Yousuf also sees England as a major threat.
“Coming to the hosts, I feel that England will have home advantage and they are looking formidable at the moment in one-day cricket, and they will be a force at the World Cup,” he added.
“The only other team that may stand an outside chance is Australia but they really need to get all of their main players back from bans, from injuries and then firing on all cylinders.”
The #CWC19 Public Ballot is open now! Apply for tickets here.