Keeping patriotism aside, former Australia paceman Brett Lee believes it would be 'great' if England prove all the theories right and win the 2019 World Cup on their home soil.
The Eoin Morgan-led side are currently the top-ranked ODI team and are going into this tournament as first favourites for the first time.
“It would be huge for Australia to do it again, but I must say it would be great for England to win it. There will be big crowds at the World Cup and they will only get more and more fervent if the home team does well,” said Lee at the Opening Ceremony in the shadow of Buckingham Palace.
“I think England probably needs that energy back into cricket, the energy we saw in the 2005 Ashes. I did an interview the other day and spoke for an hour about the 2005 Ashes. I still say it’s the favourite series I’ve ever played in. I loved every single moment of it.
“It would be good for England if they won, and it’s not easy for an Aussie to say that!"
Lee, the 2003 World Cup winner, has an amazing record in the World Cup, picking up 35 wickets at a handsome average of 17.97.
Having won the World Cup five times, Australia are coming into this tournament on the back of eight-match winning streak. While all the focus is on the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, Lee feels all-rounder Marcus Stoinis can make a big impact.
“It’s also about peaking at the right time when you go into a World Cup. I think Australia are doing that, although we haven’t played a lot of great cricket back-to-back in the last 12 months," he said.
“Pat’s a superstar and a key player, while Mitch can bring the ball back in and rip someone’s pad off. With Jason (Behrendorff), he can bring a beautiful, subtle change and (Nathan) Coulter-Nile can bowl well too. Australia have a good attack.
“(Marcus) Stoinis, to me, he’s my pick. I’m chipping up on him. His presence excites me. When he walks in to bat, you can see he means it. He wants it. He’s a genuine all-rounder who can win a game with the bat and with the ball. He’s quick enough to bowl on the front line and I think he’ll be pretty handy in these conditions.”
England's 'do-or-die' World Cup bid excites Pietersen
Meanwhile, Lee's former arch-rival Kevin Pietersen thinks the fearless brand of one-day cricket England have played under Eoin Morgan can work in their favour. England, who will be involved in the tournament opener against South Africa, have transformed their approach in ODIs under Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss since their embarrassing first-round exit at the 2015 edition.
“So much credit must go to Eoin Morgan, he’s cool, he’s calm and he has the backing of his players, which is the most important. The players have felt energised by the positivity in which he backs them but I think the most encouraging thing about this England team is Eoin allows them to fail," he said.
“When you are allowed to fail you can play some unbelievable sport. In all walks of life, if you are allowed to make mistakes and know you are still going to get backed, that’s empowering. That is what Morgan has done.”
“I’m not surprised what he’s done because I was sat on a train with him years ago talking about the way we need to play positive cricket. It’s just beautiful to see the way English players are playing now. It’s something that makes me so happy. Eoin has transformed England.”
The 38-year-old is backing England, India and Australia to qualify for the semifinals with West Indies being the dark horse. Pietersen however didn't shy away from sending a fair warning to England.
“You’ve got nine games and you’ve got the comfort to maybe lose a couple but they don’t want to lose that first game against South Africa. This is very different from a bilateral series, where you are just playing against team after team. This is big, this is real big.”