The 'gut' has it as South Africa

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Saturday, February 8, 2003, 2:48 [IST]
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Bangalore: Although form and talent strongly suggest it is Australia and my heart strongly favours India, I stopped close of picking them as my, likely, team to wear the crown.

Well, I suppose it's time I had my pick.

It is South Africa.

What makes me think so?

Gut feeling!

Gut feeling is a little absurd, I suppose, but I'm afraid that in circumstances where there are 3-4 potential winners - each capable of upstaging the other, 'gut' is the convenient way out.

The 'gut' apart, South Africans have many things going for them; home advantage being the heaviest of them (ironically none of the teams to date have been able to lift the cup on home soil).

To go along with it, they possess an excellent attack in Pollock, Ntini and Donald and an equally excellent backup in Kallis and Klusener. All of whom are good exponents of the seam-up stuff, which is what sells in that part of the world.

For variety they have Boje.

However, its real strength lies in the fact that Kallis, Pollock, Klusener and Boje qualify as batsmen too, which means that much more batsmen on offer. And to boot, their keeper is no mug with the bat. So in reality except for Ntini and Donald, the rest can all qualify for batsmen.

In a nutshell, they bat deep.

Their fielding needs no introduction and they have a sound captain in Pollock.

String all these together and you have a potent combination.

On the mental side, I feel, their nerve-wracking experience in the 1999 World Cup is going to stand them in good stead.

They also profess to have an added incentive in , which could just about spur them on.

Having said so, it is not going to be easy. The water is hostile and there are quite a few 'crocs' around in Australia, India, Pakistan, England and New Zealand.

Nevertheless, I sense, the South Africans to be skilled and trained enough to manoeuvre their way through.

In closing, there is no doubting that the South Africans are a very talented bunch, but there is also no doubting that history tags them as 'chokers' - the one thing that could stand in their way.

However, this time, I feel, they are going to undo that and go on and win the World Cup.


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