Shane Warne
Shane Warne (AFP Photo)

Spin bowling legend Shane Warne has termed hosts England and former champions India as the two hot favourites for the ICC World Cup 2019. However, despite their struggles in the past one year, especially in ODI cricket, Warne hasn’t ruled out Australia from successfully defending the title they won at home in 2015.

While Australia have lost four straight ODI series starting January 2018 that include back-to-back defeats to England (home and away), South Africa (home), India (home). With the impending return of two of their premier batsmen in Steven Smith and David Warner, Australia will be hoping the duo will bolster their bid for a record-extending sixth title.

“As I’m putting my #worldcup squad together for my column, I really believe Aust can win it again,” Warne wrote on his Twitter handle on Tuesday. “As we have the players for the conditions, match winners etc. I think England & India go in as hot favourites, but if the selectors play their part – then the Aussies can 100% win.”

Meanwhile, Smith’s manager has alleviated the concerns surrounding his impending return saying the former captain will be part of Australia’s world cup squad. His clarifications came after several reports emerge of Cricket Australia unwilling to risk Smith for the quadrennial tournament on account of an elbow injury.