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Cricket legend Michael Atherton names three T20 World Cup contenders

Michael Atherton rates India as the favourites to win the T20 World Cup (Picture: Getty)

Michael Atherton believes India are worthy favourites for this year’s T20 World Cup but says the tournament will not be a ‘cakewalk’ for Virat Kohli’s side, with England and West Indies also contenders.

India laid down a marker ahead of the tournament with a 3-2 series win over England, the top-ranked team in T20 cricket.

Eoin Morgan’s England will attempt to secure a World Cup double later in the year, having won the 50-over competition on home soil in 2019.

The likes of West Indies, Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand will also be confident of enjoying productive runs in the tournament, but India are the clear favourites, according to former England captain Atherton.

Asked whether India’s victory over England proved they are the favourites to win the next T20 World Cup, Atherton told Sky Sports: ‘I think so.

‘They probably have more strength in depth because of the IPL and the T20 cricket they play and the fact they have just beaten England without probably three main bowlers.

Virat Kohli's side beat England 3-2 in the recent T20I series

Virat Kohli’s side beat England 3-2 in the recent T20I series (Picture: Getty)

‘Put all those things together, and the fact they are playing at home, then they are the team to beat.

‘It won’t be a cakewalk – England are a very good side and West Indies and other sides are dangerous as well – but if you priced it up, you would say India are favourites.’

India produced a brilliant batting performance in the series decider against England on Saturday, with Kohli (80*), Rohit Sharma (64) and Hardik Pandya (39*) firing the hosts to 224-2.

England were then restricted to 188-8 despite Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler scoring quick fifties, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with superb figures of 2-15 from four overs.

‘It was a complete game for us, we totally outplayed the opposition,’ Kohli said at the post-match presentation. ‘Like the last game we defended a total again after getting runs on the board.

‘It was a complete game – the fact Shreyas and Pant didn’t bat and we still got close to 230 shows what we can do with the bat when everyone fires. It was a clinical game for us.’

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