NOIDA: Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, fondly addressed as Dada, believes that India are the favourites to win the World Cup, saying they have played good cricket in the last few months.

“India are favourites. They have played good cricket in the last 6-7 months… they are prepared for the World Cup,” Ganguly said during an event of HCL Foundation, the CSR arm of HCL Technologies, organized here on Thursday.  The World Cup starts in England on May 30 and India will lock horns with South Africa in its first match on June 5. If things go as scheduled, India will play Pakistan on June 16 in Manchester.

“This is the best possible team, all of them have performed and that’s why they are in the squad,” he said.

India ranks second in the ODI ranking, with England topping the charts. Experts believe both the teams are favourites to win the coveted title.

In an interview to The Sunday Guardian last week, Ajit Agarkar had picked India and England as the title favourties.

At a time when the World Cup is knocking at the door, many have expressed strong opinion that India should not be playing Pakistan in the backdrop of Pulwama attacks.

While Harbhajan has called for India to boycott the match, Sourav too echoed similar sentiments. He said, “This is a decision ICC will have to take. I think India will take a tough stance which is quite natural and you have to deal with it. Anyway, bilateral ties don’t happen so we will have to wait.”

Joining the issue, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has said that he would “hate” to give Pakistan two points just like that but he would back whatever decision is taken.

“India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World Cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament,” he tweeted.

“Having said that, for me India always comes first, so whatever my country decides, I will back that decision with all my heart,” he added.

Although suspending matches could boomerang India’s bid to isolate Pakistan on international stage. In a setback, International Olympic Commission on Thursday decided to “suspend all discussions” with India to host Olympic-related events in the country after it decided not to grant visas to Pakistani shooters for the World Cup in New Delhi.

The HCL Foundation event was also attended by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. The IT giant announced grants to three NGOs in the categories of Environment, Health and Education on the occasion.

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