Following their emphatic series win over England on Saturday, Team India are favourites to win the ICC T20 World Cup on home soil later this year, feels former England skipper Michael Atherton.
Atherton, however, added that it won’t be a walk around the park for the Men in Blue and picked England and West Indies as two other challengers for the title. The hosts won the series decider against the visitors on Saturday by 36 runs to clinch the five-match T20I series 3-2.
Michael Atherton pointed out that India have terrific bench strength, thanks to the IPL, while also opining that the hosts were without some key bowlers in the T20I series against England.
“I think so (On being asked whether India are the favourites to win the next T20 World Cup). They probably have more strength in depth because of the IPL and the T20 cricket they play and the fact they have just beaten England without probably three main bowlers. Put all those things together, and the fact they are playing at home, then they are the team to beat,” Atherton told Sportskeeda.
While speaking on England and the West Indies’ chances of winning the T20I World Cup as well, Atherton said: “It won’t be a cakewalk – England are a very good side, and West Indies and other sides are dangerous as well – but if you priced it up, you would say India are favourites.”
After being put on to bat first, India piled on a mammoth 224 runs on the board, thanks to Virat Kohli’s 80*, Rohit Sharma’s 64 and cameos by Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya. England, on the other hand, were in the game before Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan’s dismissal.
Virat Kohli was a satisfied man after his team emerged victorious by 36 runs in the series decider. He branded his team’s win as a ‘complete’ performance, suggesting his side ticked all the boxes.
“It was a complete game for us. Totally outplayed the opposition. Even with so much dew coming in, like (in the) last game, we’ve defended the total again. We put good runs on the board (again), and today was a complete game,” he said.
“I mean, the fact that Rishabh and Shreyas did not even get a chance to bat, and we still got close to 230 is a testimony to what we can do with the bat when everyone fires and we play the way we always do,” Virat added.
The focus now shifts towards the ODI series, starting from Tuesday, March 23 in Pune. The second and third ODI will also be played at the same venue on March 26 and 28 respectively.