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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 18:27 GMT
Agnew's World Cup verdict - West Indies
AustraliaSri LankaNew ZealandPakistanSouth AfricaEnglandEnglandIndia

By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

West Indies
I think it would be pretty miraculous for West Indies to win the World Cup.

They are playing at home, but home advantage has never done anybody any good in past tournaments.

What is clearly lacking from Windies teams of the past is pace bowling. In fact, they have deliberately shied away from firepower.

Along come Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels twiddling the ball around once the power plays are over, and it's all about fiddling overs, with all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Smith bowling their medium pace.

They know their home grounds and conditions very well, so to see the way they are playing the game - is an interesting eye-opener to how the wickets might behave.

A new pitch is rarely a fast pitch - it's one that you are happy to last the game.

WEST INDIES: SEEDED 6
Windies team shot
West Indies won the first two World Cups, in the 1970s
They have reached just one semi-final since then, and hosts have a poor record
I don't think it will be high-scoring tournament and I think the West Indies are counting on that, with an attack that "takes the pace off the ball".

The batting is strong and is packed with match-winners, like Gayle and Brian Lara.

It will be interesting to see if Marlon Samuels is distracted by the investigation into his alleged links with a bookmaker, but he's been playing well.

The Guyanese pair of Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan are adept at knocking down a target steadily, so there is a good contrasting mix of batsmen.

This could be Lara's swansong and it would be nice for him to have a good tournament to go on.

He is the epitome of a big-match player - an over-used phrase these days. You can bet your life he will be really keen to go out on a big note.

The West Indies match against Pakistan is potentially a brilliant curtain-raiser. I'll be in Jamaica for that one and I'm looking forward to it.



SEE ALSO
West Indies 'can win World Cup'
19 Feb 07 |  West Indies
West Indies - Players to watch
16 Feb 07 |  West Indies
How the World Cup evolved
15 Feb 07 |  International Teams
Cricket World Cup records
14 Feb 07 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket


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