\"The Australian team is flawed but they have a chance of reaching the semi-finals,\"
New Delhi: He is not ready to write-off Australia's chances in the World Cup, but former captain Ian Chappell has conceded that the current team is 'flawed'.
"The Australian team is flawed but they have a chance of reaching the semi-finals," Chappell told PTI in an e-mail interview.
Chappell, however, insisted that if Ricky Ponting's men make the semifinals, it would not be unlikely for the four-time world champions to lift the coveted trophy yet again.
"If they get that far (semifinals) then they can win it.
But they'll have to be playing at their best."
Besides, the defending champions, Chappell felt there are four other Test-playing nations who can fancy their chances of bagging the Cup this time around.
"I think five teams have a very good chance of winning the World Cup. Other than India, Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa, England is another team that also has a realistic chance of taking the Cup home," the 'ESPN-Cricinfo' columnist said.
Considering that the World Cup is taking place in the sub-continent, Chappell, however, warned the other teams to watch out for the number two one-day side, India, which has one of the most dreaded batting line-ups in the tournament.
"I think they (India) are entitled to outright favouritism," said Chappell.
Speaking about the format of the tournament, Chappell said the minnows getting as many as six games in the preliminary stage would make it rather 'long and boring'.
"The format is too long. I think the teams should have played less matches and got the early part over before going on with the main teams, playing them pretty quicky (in the next stage)."
Meanwhile, former South African skipper Kepler Wessels said he would be keeping an eye on the South African team as the No 1 ODI team have a real chance of getting rid of the chokers tag.
"I think South Africa will do well this time. There are not too many players with mental scars so they should be able to rid themselves of the chokers tag finally."
Hailing the Proteas team composition, especially pacer Dale Steyn, Wessels said, "Dale Steyn is a formidable opponent under all circumstances and nothing should be different this time.
"Apart from him, South Africa, for the first time have got really good spinners. They are a well balanced side for sub-continent conditions."
Putting aside the concerns of Graeme Smith playing his last ODI series as captain would be under extra pressure, the former cricketer said that it would be the other way round.
"There will be less pressure on Smith. The pressure went when he decided to stand down after the tournament. He basically has nothing to lose this time."