New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS): Former left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan has chosen hosts India as his favourites for the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup title. Legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar has picked defending champions England as his favourites for the title. Both India and England will be facing off in their first warm-up game at Barsapara Cricket Ground in Guwahati on Saturday.
“I'm very excited to see how India performs and I really think they are one of the favorites, for sure because especially last couple of series, like Asia Cup, and the way India played against Australia as well in the home conditions. I think they are ticking all the boxes.”
“They have players who are performing really well but you have a guy like Mohammed Shami, who's not in the part of playing 11 consistently, who's a world class bowler itself, so it shows the kind of team India has and at the same time the bench strength India has,” said Pathan to Star Sports.
Revealing why England are favourites for him, Gavaskar said, “The defending champions, England because of the kind of talent that they have at, at the top of the order, the batting order, they've got two or three world class all -rounders who can change the game with both bat and ball. They've also got a very good bowling line -up, experienced bowling line –up, so at the moment in my book certainly.”
Both Gavaskar and Pathan will be a part of the broadcaster’s coverage of the World Cup alongside Ravi Shastri, K Srikanth, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, S Sreesanth, MSK Prasad, Sandeep Patil, Sunil Joshi, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Kaif, Sanjay Manjrekar, Deep Dasgupta, Anjum Chopra and Mithali Raj.
Gavaskar also highlighted the importance of warm-up matches, citing his experience from the 1983 World Cup winning campaign. “It affects massively because when you talked about that 1983 we played their two games against the minor counties, we lost both those games but there was so much to learn from both those games.”
“Mind you, that was early June, towards the end of May specifically and it was really cold and the pitches were green and the ball was seeming around, so even minor county bowlers an make you look a little ordinary and that’s exactly what happened but it gave us a lot to think about.”
“The fact that we had just beaten the West Indies in the West Indies a couple of months earlier, gave us the belief that sure this is just the kind of wake -up call that you need. This is just the kind of thing that you need to know that in England, the pitches are going to be different, the conditions are going to be different, the ball will move around in the air off the surface, so better be prepared for that.”
“But the best part about travelling in England is that you're travelling in a team bus, where there is very little chance of groups being formed because the coach itself is such that you keep moving around, people bump into each other, they are a bit of a mate ship, leg pulling, if I might call it that, a little bit of teasing here and there and then maybe watching a little bit of the video, which is put up in a video movie.”
“But it builds a spirit of togetherness, you understand each other and I think that is probably one of the best things that can happen. In an aircraft, when you travel from, what can you do in an aircraft? You can't go and talk to the person behind in your seat, that's very difficult. So I think that is what helped us in 1993 for sure.”
Overseas voices on the World Cup broadcast include many from the global feed like Eoin Morgan, Shane Watson, Aaron Finch, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Waqar Younis, Dale Steyn, Shane Bond, Shaun Pollock, Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ian Bishop, Mpumelelo Mbangwa, Simon Doull, Nasser Hussain, Ramiz Raja, Michael Atherton, Dirk Nannes and Lisa Sthalekar.
Star Sports will also have Tamil commentary feed featuring S. Badrinath, Murali Vijay, Yomahesh Vijayakumar, Russel Arnold, Hemang Badani, S Ramesh and RJ Balaji. For Telugu-speaking fans, Venugopal Rao will join T Suman, Ashish Reddy and Kalyan Krishna.
In Kannada, R Vinay Kumar, Gundappa Viswanath, Vijay Bharadwaj Bharath Chipli, Pavan Deshpande, Akhil Balachandra and others will be commentating. The Gujarati feed will have Manan Desai, Akash Trivedi and Deep Vaidya, alongside strategic acumen of Nayan Mongia and others.
Marathi-speaking fans will listen to commentary from Amol Muzumdar, Lalchand Rajput, Pravin Tambe and fellow experts. The Malayalam feed will have Tinu Yohannan, Raiphi Gomez and others, while the Bangla feed will include A Jhunjhunwala, Ashoke Dinda and other popular voices.