Edgbaston: As India and England get ready to lock horns in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, former Indian cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth said that the match between these two countries will be the best contest in this World Cup.
He even called the Men in Blue as clear favourites for this contest as the team has been performing well as a collective unit.
"I think tomorrow's match will be the best game of the tournament. I still believe that India are the favourites in the World Cup. India are playing exceptionally well as a team. India psychologically are the hardcore favourites for tomorrow's match," Srikkanth told ANI.
Srikkanth defended wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni over his slow strike-rate. He said that the batsman silenced his critics in the team's last match against West Indies.
Dhoni has been criticised over the past few days over his slow strike-rate during the middle overs period. He came under severe criticism over his slow innings during the Afghanistan match. In the match against West Indies, Dhoni took his time, but he was able to capitalise in the final over of the innings.
"Dhoni silenced his critics in the team's match against West Indies. What more you want? From a cricketing angle, you want a good partnership, Dhoni has done that in the India-West Indies match," Srikkanth said.
Vijay Shankar, who has been playing at number four spot has failed to score big runs for the team. He has gotten starts but he has not been able to convert them into big scores. Srikkanth said that the team management needs to decide whom to play at number four.
He even went on to say that for him India and Australia will face each other in the finals of the tournament.
"The Indian management would know best what to do with the number four batsman. they might try Rishabh Pant, Jadeja or Karthik can be also tried. You have to look at the team in totality, everyone is performing well," Srikkanth said.
"Overall, I expect an India-Australia final," he added.
Before the start of the World Cup, the ICC in partnership with UNICEF, had announced 'One Day for Children' bringing together cricket's one billion fans to help build a better world for every child.
#OneDay4Children will use the power and reach of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 to help children learn to play and be healthy. The money raised will support UNICEF's work for children in cricket playing nations across the world.
Srikkanth said that it is a wonderful initiative taken by the ICC and every fan should do everything they can to support the cause.
"This initiative adopted by the ICC along with UNICEF, it's a big fund-raising project. I urge the fans to donate money so that needy children across the world can get benefits," Srikkanth said.
India have won all their matches in the World Cup so far and they are the only unbeaten side in the tournament. The team is currently placed at the second position in the World Cup standings with 11 points.
Men in Blue next take on England in Edgbaston on June 30.