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In my book, Pakistan are favourites

Pakistan will begin their campaign today, and there will be plenty of focus on the mercurial team. In my book, they are one of the strong favourites for the title. Javagal Srinath writes.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2011 01:44 IST

Australia had attracted a lot of attention going into their first game of the World Cup, and the defending champions had a good workout against Zimbabwe as they made a winning start. From Australian point of view, it was good both Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke got runs. It helps the team when captain and vice-captain make good a start.

Confidence booster
Australia didn't have the best build-up to the World Cup, losing both their practice matches against India and South Africa. While it wouldn't have dented their confidence much, it would have surely left them a bit worried. Therefore, they would have taken a huge confidence from the victory, though the middle-order is yet to hit its straps.

The middle-order must open up and contribute more as the tournament progresses; otherwise, it will leave Watson, Ponting and Clarke with too much to do.

Brave decision
I thought it was a brave decision to go in with two spinners. I believe it was more or less to see who would be more effective between Jason Krejza and Steve Smith. I am sure Australia will revert to their tried and tested formula of three specialist pacers and a spinner as the tournament progresses. I feel leg spinner Smith has an edge over off-spinner Krejza with his batting.

Focus on Pakistan
Pakistan will begin their campaign today, and there will be plenty of focus on the mercurial team. In my book, they are one of the strong favourites for the title.

Fast bowling is their strength, and with their ability to generate reverse swing, they could be more than handful in these conditions.

Pakistan also have a strong batting line-up. The presence of Younis Khan, Misbah ul Haq and the explosive Shahid Afridi gives them tremendous depth. While there are plenty of other exciting batsmen, batting will revolve around these three. Pakistan are well-versed with the conditions in Sri Lanka, where they will play their group matches.

And that will make them a side, which will merit a careful watching throughout the World Cup.

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