Thursday, March 01, 2007

Realism? Chappell's take on World Cup

Make no mistake, Aussies are the favourites.
India coach and former Australia captain Greg Chappell said in Mumbai on Tuesday Australia's chances of defending their World Cup title should not be written off despite losing their last five one-day internationals.
"I wouldn't read too much into it," Chappell told reporters ahead of the March 13-April 28 tournament in West Indies.
Australia lost 2-0 in the home tri-series finals to England and 3-0 in New Zealand.
"If anything, it just shows that New Zealand are a good side, and shows that England have made some progress in recent times," he said.
"They have key players coming back to the team that went to New Zealand. This will just have made them hungrier and a bit more determined to play well. I would have preferred if they won every game and went to the West Indies and maybe were overconfident."
India captain Rahul Dravid agreed with his coach and said that although Australia start as favourites, it would be a tight competition.
"They (Australia) have got a good one-day record over the past two to three years and you can't dismiss that in one week or two weeks of cricket," Dravid said of Australia's string of five defeats.
"I am sure when they get some of their key players back they will be hungry and keen to perform."
Chappell, whose two-year tenure as India coach ends after the World Cup, felt his side had achieved peak form following back-to-back one-day series victories at home over West Indies and Sri Lanka.
"We are in as good a position as we hope to be. At this stage the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle has fallen into place," he said.
"I think we go with some confidence and plenty of hope. We have got cover for pretty much all of the key players and the key positions, we've got flexibility."
India, the 1983 World Cup winners, are in Group B with 1996 champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bermuda.

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