New Delhi: West Indian batting legend Brian Lara Tuesday said India are the favourites for the World Cup, beginning Feb 19 in the sub-continent but cautioned them about the pressure of playing at home.
Lara, who was here for a cricket clinic, tipped South Africa as the second favourite team.
"India are the favourites to win the World Cup as they have the home advantage. But with advantage, there is also home pressure. In 1996 World Cup, hosted in the sub-continent, Sri Lanka, who were not really the favourites, won," he said.
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"Australia, England and South Africa will keep the pressures while West Indies can cause a few surprises. Also, you always have to build your campaign in India. The teams who will slowly build themselves and then go all out towards the final stages are the one to be the most feared. But for a home team, it is going to be different. They have to start on top and end on top."
Lara said India have got a well-balanced side for the World Cup.
"India have always been a very good batting side and they are batting good in what was earlier considered to be not ideal conditions for them. The difference has been made by bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth taking early wickets."
Lara said that in the coming years no team would be invincibles like the West Indies of the past and most recently Australia.
"West Indies had their era of invincibility during 70s, 80s and early nineties. But cricket is a cycle and no team can always stay on the top. Every team which has put in the right infrastructure is bound to get to the top. The way Australia came up was very much like the way West Indies did," he said.World Cup 2011
"India is travelling a lot around the world and producing results which no one expected. England have been very enterprising during their Ashes win. Now teams are more or less reaching the same level with the kind of awareness about technology and finess. The time of invincibility is gone now."
Lara, who is currently a batting consultant with the Zimbabwe team, said he is looking to work on the self confidence of the team and qualify for the second round of World Cup.
"I have done my research on Zimbabwe. The batting is my focus. They are not the fancied side but I hope they can spring a few surprises which would be important for them. As of now we are looking to qualify for the second stage."