The opening game between the West Indies and South Africa, on February 9, will be very interesting. People the world over will want the West Indies to win, because their cricket has been on the wane for some years now and this is the best time for them to get back with the other top teams.
It could make for an exciting contest at Newlands, the second oldest ground in South Africa -- and if Brian Lara gets in and gets his mind right, South Africa could struggle.
The hosts are without Darryl Cullinan and that could be a huge problem for them; after Herschelle Gibbs, Gary Kirsten and Jacques Kallis, they have no quality batsman. In fact, I think this is a serious problem and their lack of batting depth is likely to be exposed soon. If you notice, Jonty Rhodes is actually moving up the order, which goes to show you. Also, they are an ageing side.
South Africa are on a high and doing very well at the moment, but after watching India down them in Colombo last September I see serious flaws in their technique and ability to rise to the occasion in these big competitions.
On the plus side for the hosts, Shaun Pollock is a good captain who listens to his teammates and understands his players. I also believe that Pollock is ahead of Windies skipper Carl Hooper in that Pollock has the better bowling attack.
Overall, I think the West Indies will give South Africa a big scare, if not actually beat them outright.