Terming India as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup, former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist on Wednesday cautioned the co-hosts not to get bogged down by the weight of expectations, instead enjoy playing in front of the home crowd.
Gilchrist said if Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men play their natural game, they can go a long distance in the mega-event, starting from February 19 to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"Pressure of expectations will be very high and it would depend on the players and management how they deal with it. If the Indians just focus on cricket and forget everything else, they will have a good chance. They are one of the favourites," said Gilchrist, who would be captaining the Kings XI Punjab in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.
The former Aussie, however added that other sub-continent teams like Sri Lanka and Pakistan would also be fancying their chances.
Gilchrist also said that despite Australia's forgettable Ashes series, which they lost 1-3 to England at home, they can still be considered as strong contenders for winning their fourth successive World Cup title.
"Australia also have a good chance to win the World Cup. They can do it," he said.
Australia have been laid low by injury concerns to some of their key players including skipper Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Shaun Tait and Nathan Hauritz but Gilchrist expressed confidence that the team would be able to deal with the situation.
"There have been injury concerns earlier also but the Australian team had faced it accordingly. It depends on the team management what final combination they come out with. I hope that these players get fit before the World Cup," a veteran of 96 Tests and 287 ODIs, said.
On whether the Australian national selectors have made a wrong choice by naming Ponting as the skipper for the World Cup instead of Michael Clarke, Gilchrist warned against doubting Ponting's abilities and insisted that the regular skipper was the right candidate to lead the side.
"Clarke has done a wonderful job as a captain. He is a great player. But you can't underestimate Ricky Ponting's abilities. He is such a wonderful player and leader. Ponting has captained the side in the previous two World Cups and he knows exactly what it takes to be at that level. He has been there. He is right candidate to lead the side," he said.