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Flintoff backs India to retain T20 World Cup

cricket Updated: May 27, 2009 23:26 IST

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Talismanic England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has tipped India as favourites to win the ICC World Twenty20 next month and said the Indian Premier League experience will come in handy for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's boys in their title defence.

Flintoff, who is recovering from a knee surgery early this month and could miss the T20 World Cup, told PTI from Lancashire that Australia, South Africa and England would pose a strong challenge to India in the June 5-21 event to be held in England.

"Indian players just played in a world-class competition in IPL and naturally they are the favourites (to win the T20 World Cup). Australia, South Africa and England would be strong challengers. England can spring a few surprises," he said in a telephone interview.

Flintoff defended his decision to play in the IPL in South Africa from where he sustained a cartilage tear on his right knee, which put him in doubt for the World Twenty20.

"My injury was not from just one event or tournament, it was over a period of time and I think ECB should not be blamed for allowing me play in the IPL," he said when asked about the controversy in British media as to why the England board allowed Flintoff to play in the IPL.