Former West Indies captain Brian Lara is backing India to win the ICC World Cup, which starts this month, but he said the one-day powerhouse would need to play a measured campaign if they are to lift their second title.
He said India is one of the most exciting teams in the competition and as one of the hosts will have the advantage of playing in familiar conditions in the Feb. 19-April 2 tournament, also being hosted by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The low, flat, subcontinent pitches are also expected to go in India’s favor, providing help for their batsmen and bowlers.
Lara said since the World Cup is held in Asia, India is definitely the favorite.
“India has been on the top of their game, they will be very tough to beat. They have a well-balanced team that can compete with anyone in the world, but playing before home crowds will not be easy,” Lara told reporters in India recently.
India has been installed in Group B of the competition and will play alongside West Indies, Bangladesh, England, Ireland, the Netherlands and South Africa.
Currently ranked number two in the world behind world defending champions Australia, India is expected to easily reach the quarterfinals but Lara believed they must be careful to pace their campaign through the preliminaries.
“As hosts, India may find it difficult because they would want to start on top and stay on top,” the West Indies batting legend said.
India last won a World Cup when they beat West Indies in the 1983 final in England.
The double world record-holder for the highest scores in test and first class cricket was speaking after conducting a youth coaching clinic in India.