West Indies vice-captain Darren Sammy believes that Champions Trophy hosts South Africa will be among the strongest teams at the competition, which gets underway next week.
The team from the Caribbean will have to get out of a group which also includes former champions Australia and India as well as ICC World Twenty20 champions Pakistan if they are to face the Proteas, who Sammy says will be a 'tough competitor'.
"I think South Africa, being the hosts, will be the most familiar of teams with the conditions but I think with all the cricket being played around the world it means everyone is capable of playing anywhere these days," Sammy said in an interview posted on the West Indies' website (www.windiescricket.com).
"I think with so many of the players involved in the ICC Champions Trophy having played in the IPL in South Africa, they will also have as good a knowledge of conditions as the South African players.
"South Africa is the highest-ranked one-day side and it is a tough competitor. But like I said, the team that plays well on that particular day will emerge winner.
"I remember in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003, South Africa didn't do well on its home turf and was eliminated in the first round. So it really is a matter of who comes out and executes its plans properly."
He added that the West Indies side, despite being rocked by a contract row that has resulted in them sending an under-strength team to the tournament, are aiming for big things in South Africa.
"It's about both competing and winning," he said. "We will have our plans and goals and one of our main goals will be to reach at least the final four. We have to take it one game at a time and hopefully execute properly. It's important we compete at the highest level, it's important we show we deserve to be up there. Coming to South Africa and doing well in the ICC Champions Trophy would be a huge step in that direction."
The West Indies open their campaign when they play Pakistan on 23rd September at The Wanderers.
© Cricket World 2009