Legendary West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding believes skipper Virat Kohli and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will be key to India's chances at the World Cup 2019.
Holder considers Team India among the title contenders, but thinks the side just can't do it without the two pillars of its batting and bowling units.
While Bumrah has had an astonishing rise to the pinnacle of bowling charts in limited overs cricket since his debut in 2016, Virat continues to dominate the world and remains among the game's most prolific ODI run-getters.
"I will mention two names, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah. Both these cricketers have excellent qualities to win the Cup for India," Holding told Times of India when asked to name India's x-factors, before mentioning England as the other title favourites. "England will be playing at home. They have really displayed well in One-day cricket recently. They really have a balanced side."
"India has been outstanding. They are consistent. They have got good players. The champion team must know to play under pressure. I'll not be surprised if either England or India wins the Cup this time."
For being limited to only 10 countries and robbing many top associate nations off some invaluable opportunities and more funding at the highest level, the current World Cup format has received widespread criticism. But, with all the best teams taking on each other in a round-robin phase before the knock-outs, Holding believes it is only a fair concept.
"Yes, it is good. No team can complain that they have not got enough opportunity. Ultimately this is World Cup, so, if any team has one or two bad days during the group stages, they can make a comeback," he said.
"But for the semifinal and final, it will not be a cakewalk. If any team wants to win, they have to give their best in the last two matches -the semifinal and the final."
The fact that this World Cup will be played on flat pitches, should help the rest of the Asian contingent, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, compete better throughout the tournament. Holding, however, was quick to stress how tough it is still going to be.
"These days World Cups are played mostly on flat wickets so that batsmen can score runs. I think seaming tracks will not be there in England this time as well," he said. "Pakistan has surprised the cricketing world many times in many matches. But the current Sri Lanka team does not have match winners like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena."
"I know anything can happen in cricket, especially in limited overs cricket, but at the end of the day, you need to have a strong team with real match-winners. That's the reason the current Sri Lanka team will not start favourites," Holding concluded.
The World Cup begins with hosts England facing off South Africa at The Oval on May 30.