Former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath is convinced the Indian Premier League will serve as good preparation for the World Cup, despite the difference in format and conditions between the two competitions.
The legendary Australian pacer and World Cup winner has picked England and India as favourites to clinch the trophy in the 2019 edition of the ICC World Cup but warns that the competition will be much tighter from resurgent teams around the world.
‘I thought the top-two teams at the World Cup were India and England,’ McGrath said. ‘England has had a tough time in West Indies and India coming up with a few losses against Australia … the competition is going to be a bit tighter.
‘Australia’s confidence will go up and their chances [of going the distance] will be a bit more now than what it was at the start of the series. We will have to see how well they do against Pakistan in the UAE.’
— ICC (@ICC) March 23, 2019
‘It is (IPL) a good preparation, in the sense that it will get your mindset into the shorter versions of the game,’ the former Aussie paceman said. ‘Indian conditions compared to England conditions will be different but just the mindset – feeling bat on the ball and taking wickets – it will boost the players’ confidence ahead of the World Cup.’
When asked about the return of Steve Smith and David Warner’s into an Aussie side that’s just starting to click, McGrath believes that ‘it will be a good headache to have rather than try to make the numbers up. Someone like Usman Khawaja, who bats in the opener or in No. 3 – it will be interesting to see which way they go.
‘Warner likely to take the opener’s spot, I see Usman going in at No.3 and Smith in at No.4. It was great to see Khawaja in good form and score runs in the Indian conditions.’
Australia will face a tricky challenge when they begin their World Cup title defense against wildcards Afghanistan at the Bristol County Ground in Bristol on 1 June.
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