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‘India would be under pressure at home’

Ask any expert to pick his favourite for the World Cup, and India turns out to be either the red-hot contender or one of the frontrunners.

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2011 00:35 IST
HT Correspondent

Ask any expert to pick his favourite for the World Cup, and India turns out to be either the red-hot contender or one of the frontrunners.

However, almost invariably, there's a rider attached to it — India are playing at home and they would be under tremendous pressure.

Duncan Fletcher, one of the most experienced and respected coaches in the cricketing world, too, feels no different. While he clubs India amongst quite a few contenders, he marks out India as the team that will have to cope with tremendous pressure playing in front of home fans who follow their team with fervent passion.

"India must be favourite at this stage, but they would be under tremendous pressure on their home grounds. It depends on how they handle the pressure," he said.

Overall, Fletcher felt that there are quite a few sides, which can go all the way to lift the World Cup.

"It's an open World Cup for a change. There are no firm favourites. You can't rule out Sri Lanka, they're always dangerous in those conditions. South Africa, too, are going to be a huge threat. England, too, look very dangerous and you can never write off Pakistan who can take the attack to the opposition on their day of form," he said.

The former England coach, however, was quite clear that spin was going to play a vital role in deciding who walks away with the trophy.

"Secondly, he said, it's going to be very hot out there and the side with fitter players will have an edge," he said.

The South African batting consultant brushed aside the thought that South Africa might struggle on slow and spinning sub-continent wickets.

"I believe South Africa matches everyone as far as ODIs are concerned. They don't play on those wickets very often, but when they get on it they play very well. The wickets in India might be slower and a bit flatter, but they have got the skill and the ability to adapt. I think they will perform far better than what many would expect of them," he said.