England deserve Cricket World Cup favourites tag, says Graeme Swann
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Last Updated: 23/05/19 1:08pm
England have demonstrated they now have an effective Plan B to add to their “unstoppable” A-game, according to former spinner Graeme Swann.
The World Cup gets underway next week, with England firmly installed as favourites with the bookmakers to win the tournament on home soil.
They hammered Pakistan 4-0 in this month's ODI series and Swann believes the manner in which England won illustrated how much the team has evolved.
"The recent series against Pakistan has really whetted the appetite of the whole nation because in certain situations a couple of years ago they would have fallen flat," Swann told Sky Sports News.
"They didn't have a Plan B [in the past]. Take Ben Stokes [who hit 71 not out] the other day at Trent Bridge - he knew if he just batted to the end after England had lost a few wickets they would win.
"That wouldn't have happened two years ago but it happened this time and I think everyone now believes that this team has learnt from past mistakes.
"Not only is their A-game unstoppable but their B-game is pretty good now. I think they are going to win it [the World Cup]."
England are a completely different proposition now thanks to the inspirational leadership of Eoin Morgan, according to Swann.
"This is the best one day team we have had full stop," he added. "And it's more to do with the attitude of the players they think anything is possible.
"Eoin Morgan is the best captain England have ever had in one day cricket.
"He absolutely knows the game. He's fearless, he's aggressive and that's what you need in the modern one-day cricket game. He's got a team around him that just back him to the hilt and he backs his players to the hilt. They believe anything is possible
One man missing from the squad is Alex Hales, who was withdrawn from all England squads last month, including the 15-man World Cup party after news emerged he was serving a 21-day ban for a second positive test for recreational drug use.
Swann has little sympathy for his former Nottinghamshire team-mate but is backing Hales to learn from his mistakes going forward.
"At the end of the day Hales has only got himself to blame and he's going to miss out on the biggest thing going in cricket - a potential World Cup winner's medal," Swann added.
"If it doesn't give him the kick up the backside that he needs then it's a shame but I hope it does because he is too good a talent to waste."
You can watch every match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with England vs South Africa at The Oval on Thursday, May 30.