India head coach Ravi Shastri (Picture: Getty)India coach Ravi Shastri anticipates a ‘very close’ World Cup this summer but says England are worthy pre-tournament favourites.
Under captain Eoin Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss, England have shot up to No. 1 in the ICC rankings in one-day cricket, winning 11 of their last 15 ODI series.
India are currently ranked second in the world and will hope to win a third World Cup this summer under superstar skipper Virat Kohli.
‘It is going to be a very close World Cup,’ India coach Shastri said. ‘You cannot pick any one team as favourites to win the showpiece event.
Two-time winners India announced their World Cup squad last week (Picture: Getty)‘Though top four teams can be considered as top contenders because of their current form still it is going to be a tough competition. The gap will be narrow.
‘However, England have been most the consistent team over the last two years. They have got multi-dimensional players.
‘They have got depth in bowling and batting and they are playing at home. In the rankings, they are the number one team in the world.
‘But as I said, on a given day, any team can beat anyone. You will have to go by the rankings to see the consistency.’
India announced their provisional World Cup squad last week, with Dinesh Karthik favoured over India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.
India won the tournament under MS Dhoni in 2011 (Picture: Getty)Asked about India’s squad, Shastri added: ‘I don’t get involved in the selection process.
‘If we have something to say, we convey it through the skipper and he puts it across on the behalf of the team management.’
Shastri also denied India are over-reliant on star batsman Kohli, saying: ‘If you look at the Indian team’s performance in the last five years, they have been in top three.
‘To maintain that kind of momentum, being number one in Test cricket, second in ODIs and again in top three in T20s, you cannot rely on one player.