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Cook backing England for World Cup glory

Cook backing England for World Cup glory
© Reuters
England top the One Day International world rankings.

Sir Alastair Cook has backed England to end their long wait for a World Cup success and believes they are favourites to triumph on home soil.

England, captained by Eoin Morgan, top the One Day International world rankings with 100 days to go until the start of the 50-over tournament.

Ex-captain Cook ended his record-breaking international career last year as the country's highest Test run scorer and most-capped player.

Asked if he felt England were favourites to lift the trophy at Lord's on July 14, the 34-year-old told Press Association Sport: "Absolutely.

"Everyone's very settled and they've got matchwinners pretty much from one to 15.

"It's such an exciting time for English one-day cricket, brilliantly led by Eoin Morgan and they've got a hell of a chance to win this World Cup.

"They've got the ability to get massive scores, they bat all the way down with people who can whack it out of the park, and then they've got some very skilful bowlers – the spin twins of Moeen (Ali) and (Adil) Rashid."

Essex opener Cook never played at a World Cup after being dropped as national team captain and then left out of the 2015 squad.

Three-time finalists England produced a dismal performance in Australia and New Zealand four years ago, failing to beat a fellow Test-playing nation and exiting at the group stage.

Cook attributes previous struggles to too many last-minute changes, but feels that will not be an issue this time.

"Probably over the years we've really concentrated on Test cricket as a a nation. Over the last three or four years we've really given the one-day cricket its due," he said.

"We've made massive mistakes leading up to series, like changing England's formula just before the World Cup, over the last four World Cups we've had major changes in key positions.

"And this is not going to happen this time. Everyone is very clear on their roles, so that is exciting."

Cook also dismissed suggestions of England being under extra pressure to deliver by hosting the tournament.

"I don't see football teams moaning about having to play at home very often, it's a massive advantage to play at home in every other sport," he added.

"With everyone saying: 'The pressure of a home World Cup', I think the players will love it and embrace the support."

Former spin bowler Graeme Swann, part of the World T20-winning side in 2010, also tipped England for glory.

The 39-year-old feels the team is feared by other nations and believes
lessons learned at the previous World Cup have helped transform their fortunes.

"They are picking a team of one-day specialists, they've got an exceptional leader in Eoin Morgan and, personally, 100 days out I think they are favourites to win this World Cup," he said.

"I think they are a feared team throughout the world, especially the batting line-up. They might not be the brightest bunch sitting down doing an exam but they know their one-day cricket.

"I think since the disastrous World Cup in Australia, that sheet kind of got ripped up and they started picking proper one-day specialists and that's why they are in the position they are in now. It's the absolute difference."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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