ENGLAND spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will be pivotal to the host nation’s hopes of lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time, says former England star Graeme Swann.

Rashid’s leg-spin has been at the forefront of England’s meteoric rise to the top of the one-day rankings while all-rounder Ali has also been a key component with the bat and ball.

The spin twins were both named in the preliminary 15-man World Cup squad and are expected to have their places confirmed when it is finalised tomorrow following the 4-0 series win over Pakistan.

And having repeatedly impressed for their country in ODIs over the past few years, Swann expects Rashid, from Bradford, and Ali to deliver again as England look to live up to their billing as favourites.

“Rashid and Moeen will be massive during this World Cup, spin bowlers can always win you games in one-day cricket, especially in England,” said Swann.

“So many teams come here thinking the wickets are going to be green seamers because they believe the old rumours about England, but it’s not 1985 anymore, they don’t water the wickets.

“They are going to be great wickets and you need spin in the middle part. Those two have been brilliant over the past couple of years and I think they could be awesome.

“I think Adil has been brilliant over the last two or three years, I think if you just say it’s a big year this year it takes away what he has done over the last two or three years.

“He’s taken a shed-load of wickets and we should focus on that not just think he’s built up for this year. I think he’s only going to go from strength to strength in this team.”

England have never won the World Cup, with their best performances coming in 1979, 1987 and 1992 as losing finalists, but the host nation are being tipped to lift the trophy this summer.

One of the remaining sub-plots for Eoin Morgan’s side ahead of the start of the tournament is which of the bowlers will miss out if paceman Jofra Archer is selected as expected.

Swann said: “Whoever is in good nick, whoever is bowling well should be in there, but I like having a left armer in there, so I like having David Willey playing when it’s swinging.

“I like having a bit of pace and I like having the two spinners, it’s a very balanced attack and I definitely wouldn’t take out one of the spinners to get an extra seamer in.

“If anyone does that then they deserve to be hung, drawn and quartered for the inevitable loss of that game because people who get rid of spinners in modern cricket are stupid.

“They do not know they game because two spinners are crucial to the balance of the team. You have to balance the team and that’s why Adil and Moeen should both be in there.”

Swann was speaking at a Barmy Army warm up event at The Oval, where he went head to head with YouTuber Charlie Morley to come up with a new song for England ODI captain Morgan.

* ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30