India the hot favourites


COMMENT – I believe co-hosts India have the best chance to win the World Cup. There are around four to five teams with genuine credentials of winning the World Cup and India’s stability makes it the hot favourite. Most of the World Cup matches will be played in India. At home India are too good. India have just the right combination of youth and experience. Captain MS Dhoni has been doing a great job. He is lucky to have the services of cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar.
But Australia should not be taken lightly. Australia are certainly a side that cannot be written off. They have won the last three World Cups and I won’t be surprised if they defend the title in Mumbai on April 2. As of South Africa, England and co-hosts Sri Lanka, they also go into the tournament with realistic chances of winning the title. But the 1992 champions Pakistan lag a bit behind the top five contenders. Pakistan’s pace attack seems really vulnerable.
There is a question mark over Shoaib Akhtar’s fitness while Sohail Tanvir was dropped at the last minute and was replaced by the inexperienced Junaid Khan. That leaves Pakistan with limited options and that could hurt them in a long and exhaustive event in which the bat will surely dominate the ball. It will be a batsmen’s World Cup because playing conditions in all the three host nations generally favour batsmen and India’s master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is going to score a lot of runs at this World Cup.
I would tip Tendulkar to score a lot of runs. For Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq will be the key as he is in very good form. He likes to stay at the wicket, and that’s really important. Umar Akmal has the capability of playing a valuable cameo every now and then, too.