South African legend Allan Donald has selected England as the favorites for 2019 World Cup title, saying the hosts would be very tough to beat at their own backyard.
England is scheduled to host the upcoming mega ICC event next year, and former South African pacer believes that the current Eoin Morgan led English team is different from the one he has ever seen and has all potential to create history this time in the ICC event at the home soil.
On Wednesday (31 May), Donald lavished praise on Morgan and his players, saying the way they are playing an aggressive brand of cricket at the moment, especially in the White-ball game, there will be high chances for them to make history in the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Donald told Sky Sports News, “I really do feel that if ever they [England] had the chance to win a World Cup, it's definitely now. I reckon in their own backyard they will be very tough to beat. The way they take on one-day internationals now it's a different England from the one I've seen.”
He further said of England, “I'll be honest, given what I faced back in the day, I wouldn't have thought they could get to this point. But there's something about them that I like. They play a very aggressive brand of one-day cricket. And my gut feeling is that they will go a long way in this World Cup. The skill is stupendous for most teams now. But England for me, through Eoin Morgan and the coaching staff, have brought a different beast to it.”
Shifting his attention towards the South African side, Donald termed AB de Villiers’ retirement as the biggest loss for the national side before World Cup, saying AB’s presence had been given him real hope that they could win the World Cup but without him there less chances of the same happening.
He further added, “AB's a massive, enormous loss. I spoke to him about six months ago and he was pretty adamant he wanted to play in the World Cup. So, I half expected him to give South Africa real hope that they could win the World Cup. I don't think they are totally out of it. But without AB de Villiers, with him in the team, they would have had a huge chance.”
Allan signed off by saying, “But it's his choice and I respect that. He just said he was tired, He has a very young family, and maybe he just realized it was his time now. It happens to all of us. And that you've got to respect. He's given South Africa plenty; he has won many games off the back of his own bat. His brilliance, his flair, it will be missed. And it will hurt South Africa not having him here next year. But it's also a hugely selfless decision. Knowing AB he's as dead-on as they come. He can walk away with his head held high. He's achieved everything in the game.”