Duncan Fletcher, best known for his time as England's coach and here as South Africa's batting consultant, picked India as the favourite for what he said would be an open World Cup.

“India must be favourites at this stage,” said Fletcher. “Especially on their home-grounds. But they must be under enormous pressure. Whether they can handle that pressure from home will be significant. But it's an open World Cup for a change. There are no firm favourites.”

Asked what winning the World Cup in the subcontinent entailed, Fletcher, regarded as one of the sharpest minds in world cricket, said: “I really believe the spinners are going to be crucial. Secondly, I believe you need fit cricketers because it's going to be hot there.”

“Thirdly, adaptation. For the batsmen, it will be about getting their techniques right and knowing how to play on those wickets. For the bowlers, it will be about how quickly they can adapt their line and length.”

Fletcher said that the 2011 World Cup would be quicker-scoring than the previous ones. He added a caveat however.

“Twenty20 has had an influence right through cricket,” he said. “The players are going to be more attacking, but 50 overs is a lot of cricket. If sides think they can go out there and adopt a Twenty20 attitude from ball one, sure on a given day they might be successful, but over a period of time, they got to be very wary that in 50 overs there will be periods there that you have got to be more patient.”

Asked specifically about the second ODI, Fletcher said, “It's important to hit India hard from ball one. Although they have young players, if they look at the young players they are pretty experienced. They know how to play themselves out of these situations. South Africa has to be careful of that.”

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