Veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh insists his country deserve to be ranked alongside hosts England as joint favourites to win the World Cup.
England are currently the world’s top-ranked one-day international side and are rated as the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the trophy. (Schedule, News: Full Coverage of ICC World Cup 2019)
Chasing their first World Cup crown, England have emerged as a formidable force, while defending champions Australia are also highly regarded after winning four of the last five editions.
But India, second in the ICC one-day rankings, are the only team to have broken Australia’s dominance over the last 20 years when Harbhajan and company took the silverware on home soil in 2011.
Harbhajan, who last played for India in 2016, has featured in three 50-over World Cups and two finals.
And the 38-year-old off-spinner is certain India’s current crop have enough quality to match England and Australia.
Asked who he sees as favourites, Harbhajan told reporters: “India, India and England I think.”
Expectations are high in India that their team can bring home a third world title, emulating the famous first success in the tournament in England in 1983.
Harbhajan, who has taken 417 Test wickets and 269 in ODIs, acknowledges that intense desire for success from the Indian public will bring its own pressures for Virat Kohli’s squad. “It’s changing. It’s a lot better than it was. Still pressure will be there. Not just on Virat Kohli but the whole team,” he said ahead of the tournament, which starts on May 30.