India favourites to win World T20: England captain Morgan

Mumbai, March 9 (IANS) England skipper Eoin Morgan on Wednesday said hosts India are favourites to win the World Twenty20 cricket tournament considering their familiarity with the conditions and rich form lately.

India come into the competition on the back of an excellent run of form in the shortest version of the game. They had back-to-back T20 series victories against Australia and Sri Lanka apart form winning the Asia Cup T20 competition last week.

The 27-day tournament got underway in Nagpur on March 8 and will be played at eight venues across India with Eden Gardens in Kolkata scheduled to host the final on April 3.

India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are clubbed in Group 2 while South Africa, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka are in Group 1.

“I think the favourites for this tournament are India, simply on the fact that they are very good in home conditions. They have also had a rich form lately. I think outside that it is very open tournament,” Morgan said at a press conference here.

Keeping in mind the conditions in India which favour slower bowlers and spinners, the 29-year-old said team’s spin duo Adil Rashid and experienced Moeen Ali have the ability in them to do well on these pitches.

“We have two very experienced spinners, Adil Rashid, who in last 12 months has come in quite leaps and bounce and Moeen Ali since he has played international cricket has become No.1 spinner for us in all forms of the game. And the fact that he is an all-rounder is exceptional,” the left-handed batsman said.

England will miss the likes of experienced pacer Steven Finn due to injury which Morgan believes is a big blow for the side. But he added that Liam Plunkett will be a good replacement.

“We haven’t practiced yet but I am presuming Plunkett is fully fit. Losing any fast bowler before a major tournament is always a blow, the benefit we have in that is that Liam was fit of the back and seems to be on rotation at the moment, him and Steven, which is quite a weird thing. But the fact is that we have one big fast bowler is really positive side for us,” he said.

Speaking on his team’s chances in the competition, the England skipper said, “I am really confident about our side. Before the South Africa series we really had a good run of things. Within the group we have lot of talent and lot of match winners. It didn’t necessarily happen against South Africa.”

“One of the things after SA trip we talked about was, are we playing in the right way, are we almost being beaten in the right manner and are we doing in things that we said we do. The attitude in the group is really positive and it is very important for us coming into this major tournament,” Morgan concluded.

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