(MENAFN- Colombo Gazette)
Legendary Sri Lanka bowler Muttiah Muralitharan has backed hosts India and defending champions England and not Sri Lanka to win the cricket World Cup.
Murali, the only bowler to pick 800 wickets in Test cricket, will launch his biopic 800 in the first week of October and was recently in India. Murali also backed Australia as another team to watch out for as they have all the tools in the arsenal to clinch World Cup glory.
“I would say India, England, Australia, and the fourth team can be anyone. These three have more chances. But you never know, cricket is all about luck. As seen in the last World Cup, we thought that New Zealand would win and England won the trophy with luck favouring them,” Murali said during the pre-launch interview.
Speaking on the advantage sub-continent teams could have, Murali believes India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan can have a big impact. India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka made it to the last four in the 2011 edition when the World Cup was last held in India. In 1996, India and Sri Lanka were in the semifinals while the former was in the semifinals in 1987.
“Definitely, the teams from the subcontinent will get an advantage because of the spin-friendly wickets, and their batters are used to playing spin,” Murali added.
India will start their World Cup campaign against five-time champions Australia in Chennai on Sunday, October 8 while England will take on New Zealand in the curtain-raiser on Thursday. The latter clash will be a repeat of the 2019 edition's final as New Zealand will have a score to settle against Buttler's army.
India's first warm-up game against England on Saturday at Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati was washed out after rain. India beat England in the three-match ODI series in July 2022, but plenty of water has gone under the bridge since as both will look to start the campaign on a high. (Colombo Gazette / Wion)
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