Shaun Pollock has experienced his fair share of World Cup highs and lows, but is confident South Africa can finally go all the way after they took Australia's spot at the top of the one-day rankings.
Pollock, the man-of-the-series in the recent Pakistan contest, said South Africa had no reason to fear anyone ahead of the tournament which begins next month in the Caribbean. "I believe we have the ability," he told the Sunday Times. "If we get it right on the day, we have shown we can beat anyone."
South Africa have had a miserable time at previous World Cups. As the host nation in 2003, they were embarrassingly knocked out before the Super Sixes after a mix-up over their target in a rain-affected match. They also lost out to Australia in 1999 after Herschelle Gibbs famously failed to hang on to a catch off Steve Waugh before their semi-final tie at Edgbaston.
Pollock, who will be appearing in his fourth and final World Cup, said the current team was the strongest he had played in. "I believe there is something special about this one. And it will be extra special for me because it will be my last one."
Captain Graeme Smith, who replaced Pollock in charge after the 2003 debacle, also said in a weekend interview the team was on the top of its game. "The one-day side has just been getting better and better. Our fielding has gone through the roof, the team ethic is getting better, the players are maturing, the confidence is high and players are performing well under pressure, which is fantastic."
However, Smith has downplayed the importance of the number one ranking. "It doesn't make us a better team than Australia. One-day cricket is about performing on the day," he told The Star newspaper.
To add further spice to the World Cup, Australia and South Africa have been drawn together in the group stage of the tournament and will meet at St Kitts on March 24.