Envisaging coronation

Bennett King backs West Indies to win the World Cup. "Our form in one-day internationals over the past year is enough to see us as one of the favourites," says the coach to Valentino Singh.

When Bennett King says he fancies his team's chance of winning the 2007 World Cup, you would be excused for thinking he is talking about his native Australia. But it is not the current holder and the world's top-ranked team King is backing — it is the West Indies side he coaches.

West Indies won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 and, with home advantage on its side, King believes his team should be among the favourites once again.

"Our form in one-day internationals over the past year is enough to see us as one of the favourites," he said.

"We have beaten the world champion twice in five matches and, if only for that, we must be one of the teams to fear. Like many Caribbean fans, I am very optimistic about our chances."

West Indies played 33 one-day internationals in 2006, winning 18 and losing 14, while one ended without a result. King believes such a record speaks for itself and gives Windies' fans legitimate reason to feel their team can win the title.

King, who was the head coach of the Australian Cricket Academy before taking the West Indies job in 2004, recognises a knockout tournament can be a great leveller. "Anyone on their given day, if they have a good day, can win a game of limited-overs cricket," the 42-year-old Queenslander said.

"If a top side has a below-par game, they can lose. What we've got to do is to make sure that we don't play a lot of bad games."

West Indies' first priority is to avoid the kind of results endured during last year's DLF Cup in Malaysia and Champions Trophy in India. Although they beat Australia in both competitions, they collapsed in humiliating circumstances in the finals against the same opposition.

"Our bad games tend to be the ones when we don't score over 150," King said. "With the better sides, their bad games are when they don't score 250. We've got to avoid this. The reality is that we have been winning games against really good opposition when we play to our true potential.

"This gives the players lots of confidence. We just have to find the formula to maintain that consistency."

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