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Gavaskar picks England as favourites for ICC Cricket World Cup

New Delhi [India], September 30 (ANI): Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has picked England as his favourite for the ICC Cricket World Cup, citing their batting and bowling talent as a reason.

"The defending champions, England because of the kind of talent that they have at, at the top of the order, the batting order, they have got two or three world-class all-rounders who can change the game with both bat and ball. They have also got a very good bowling line-up, experienced bowling line-up, so at the moment in my book certainly," Gavaskar said on Star Sports.

He also highlighted the importance of warm-up matches and shared his experience of having a great team bonding in the 1983 World Cup.

"It affects massively because when you talked about that 1983, we played their two games against the minor counties, we lost both those games but there was so much to learn from both those games. Mind you, that was early June, towards the end of May specifically and it was really cold and the pitches were green and the ball was seeming around, so even minor county bowlers can make you look a little ordinary and that is exactly what happened but it gave us a lot to think about," he said.

"The fact that we had just beaten the West Indies in the West Indies a couple of months earlier, gave us the belief that sure this is just the kind of wake-up call that you need. This is just the kind of thing that you need to know that in England, the pitches are going to be different, the conditions are going to be different, and the ball will move around in the air off the surface, so better be prepared for that.

"But the best part about travelling in England is that you are travelling in a team bus, where there is very little chance of groups being formed because the coach itself is such that you keep moving around, people bump into each other, they are a bit of a mateship, leg pulling, if I might call it that, a little bit of teasing here and there and then maybe watching a little bit of the video, which is put up in a video movie. But it builds a spirit of togetherness, you understand each other and I think that is probably one of the best things that can happen. In an aircraft, when you travel from, what can you do in an aircraft? You cannot go and talk to the person behind in your seat, that's very difficult. So I think that is what helped us in 1983 for sure," he added.

Irfan Pathan has also named his World Cup favourites.

"I am very excited to see how India performs and I really think they are one of the favourites, for sure because especially last couple of series, like Asia Cup, and the way India played against Australia as well in the home conditions. I think they are ticking all the boxes. They have players who are performing really well but you have a guy like Mohammed Shami, who is not in the part of playing 11 consistently, who is a world-class bowler itself, so it shows the kind of team India has and at the same time the bench strength India has." (ANI)