Ranatunga backs India

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's World Cricket Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga said yesterday he thought India would win the sport's biggest prize even though the 2007 tournament was wide open.

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's World Cricket Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga said yesterday he thought India would win the sport's biggest prize even though the 2007 tournament was wide open.

Ranatunga, who masterminded his country's successful campaign in 1996, said Rahul Dravid's India had the depth to win the World Cup starting in the Caribbean on March 13.

"I desperately want to see Sri Lanka win but I feel India has got the combination right and they've got the ability to surprise teams," Ranatunga told AFP.

"They'll probably go all the way."

The former Sri Lankan captain said India, who lost to Australia in the last World Cup final in 2003, had come a long way since then.

"India should look to finish off games," he said. "Last time they did so well in South Africa, but they panicked in the final against Australia. The difference with our 1996 team was that we took the biggest game of our lives as yet another match of the competition and at the end we saw Australians panicking.

"I feel one of the Asian teams can do it. Pakistan are very strong too."

Ranatunga believes Ricky Ponting's men will not win a third consecutive title.

"The Australians are bluffing," he said. - Sapa-AFP

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