NEW DELHI, Dec 6: Former Pakistan hockey captain Tahir Zaman believes India can reclaim the World Cup title after a hiatus of 47 years if they can handle the pressure of being the hosts and play consistent game. Zaman, an integral part of Pakistan's 1994 World Cup-winning team, said playing the marquee event at home has its pros and cons.
"I would say India has a good chance this time. To be honest, home ground, home crowd advantage, but they should not forget that it can also be a disadvantage. The pressure of the home crowd and local media is something they have to be careful of," Zaman said.
"Apart from that, playing disciplined hockey, and not getting emotional will help. I would say the consistency I have noticed in the Indian team's performance shows that they have everything that can make them the world champions this time."
The FIH World Cup will be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29.
Zaman, a lively forward in his playing days, expects a highly competitive tournament.
"France and South Africa are the kinds of teams that can make any kind of upsets. But, on the other hand, Australia, Belgium, Germany, and perhaps Argentina are big teams to watch out for.
"I would rate Australia and the Netherlands higher than Belgium this time. But, let's see how it goes. May the best team win the World Cup," said Zaman, who has 252 international caps and 134 goals to his name.