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ICC World Cup 2019: No team is favourite to lift the trophy, feels Shoaib Malik

"Everyone has to struggle."

Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik. (Photo Source: Instagram)

The 2019 edition of the World Cup in England and Wales is set to start in a month’s time and experts along with the commoners are sharing their opinions on who are the favourites to win the championship. Hosts England and South Africa are scheduled to play the tournament opener on Thursday, May 30 at the Kennington Oval in London.

Many believe that India and the Three Lions are most likely to be the finalists, however, Shoaib Malik, the veteran Pakistan all-rounder, reckons otherwise. The 37-year-old remarked that every other team is strong and as per him, the conditions in England can turn out to be a challenge for the sides, participating in the 50-overs mega event.

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“All the teams at the World Cup are strong and no team is favourite. Everyone has to struggle under the English conditions, where rainy weather may create problems for any team on a given day,” Malik was quoted as saying in The Dawn.

I have no complaint against the anchors

The Sialkot-born hasn’t been in the best of touch over the last year or so. Since 2018, he has averaged a mediocre 29.21 and scored at a below-par strike-rate of 77.62. Even on English soil, the experienced campaigner has scored at an average of 13.63 in 23 innings with only one half-century. Nevertheless, Malik remains unflustered by the criticism.

“I hope the critics will not carry out postpartum of the players’ (performances) during the World Cup on non-technical reasons. I have no complaint against the anchors but against (some) former cricketers, who just focus on dropping or bringing a player on the basis of (their) liking and disliking,” he added.

This will be Malik’s last appearance in a World Cup and he wishes to bow out by winning the trophy for the national team. Pakistan are set to play their first match of the tournament against the Windies on Friday, May 31 at the Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

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