India captain Virat Kohli names his favourites to win T20 World Cup

India and Virat Kohli are set to face England in the first of five T20 fixtures (Picture: Getty)

Virat Kohli is adamant England are the ‘team to beat’ at this year’s T20 World Cup as he rejected suggestions from Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler that India are firm favourites to prevail on home soil.

Both the England captain and his understudy have highlighted India’s supremacy in their own conditions as a major reason for thinking they will go all the way in a global showcase they are hosting in October and November.

Yet, on the eve of the first of five T20s between the teams in a series that has been billed as a dress rehearsal for the tournament, Kohli insists England’s status as world number ones in the format puts a target on their back.

The India skipper said: ‘I actually think it’s England who will be the team to beat. They’re the number one side in the world and the prime focus will be on them in this World Cup.

‘All the other teams will be wary of the strengths that they bring on to the park and every other team would agree with what I say: it’s England who are the favourites and that will not change regardless of how they think.’

Both Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan have suggested India are the favourites for the T20 World Cup later this year (Picture: Getty)

Meanwhile, Ravi Ashwin, who finished as the leading wicket-taker in the recent Test series dominated by the home team, is once again conspicuous by his absence in India’s T20 squad.

It has been more than three and a half years since Ashwin last featured in the limited-overs formats, with Washington Sundar ahead of him in the pecking order, and Kohli played down the chances of a comeback.

‘Washington has been doing really well for us so you cannot have two players of the same discipline playing in one spot,’ he said.

‘Unless Washy has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him…the question has to be asked with some kind of logic as well. It’s easy to ask a question but you should have a logical explanation to it.’

MORE : England star Jos Buttler rates India as favourites to win T20 World Cup

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