Mumbai: Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming feels India's upcoming tour of Australia next month will determine how the defending champions' campaign pans out in the World Cup next year.
"If they play well in the Test series, if they play well in the one-dayers, they are going to be in a very good position to challenge for the Cup. But I stress, they have got to play well for those three months to get used to the conditions and environment and that will be an advantage. If they do not, then a disadvantage," Fleming told reporters last night at a Tourism New Zealand event.
He also felt that players will need to manage themselves well to avoid burning out during the World Cup.
"They have got to manage themselves well. The best thing about managing yourself is winning. If you play well, you have energy and things go okay. You spend a lot of energy on other things when you are losing and if they have a tough tour like what they had in England, it is going to be hard to pick themselves up. Players will feel a little bit flat," he said.
The 41-year old felt New Zealand have a good chance of winning the elusive World Cup trophy when they co-host the mega-event that commences on February 14.
"I think they have a really good chance. This is one of the best one-day sides that New Zealand has ever had and they are playing at home. India and Sri Lanka had the last world cup and they made the finals.
"So New Zealand and Australia, if they play well in their own condition then have got a chance. But I think it is one of the most evenly contested World Cup that I have ever seen," he said.
New Zealand last co-hosted the World Cup with neighbours Australia in 1992 and Fleming said it was a magnificent campaign under Martin Crowe and hopefully the Kiwis could go the distance this time and win it.
"The first game, Australia versus New Zealand at Eden Park, I was in Mumbai. I was here with the u-19 team and I watched it from Wankhede stadium. I have very good memories as a lot of New Zealanders do about the way the '92 World Cup panned out. It was great," Fleming said.
"There were no expectations that New Zealand was going to do well but under Martin Crowe, it was magnificent. They created a campaign that was still remembered.
"So we are hoping that Black Caps can do that and go one step further into the final. Winning it would be a dream. I know there is some optimism in New Zealand that we can do that," he added.
The Chennai Super Kings coach also backed Australia and South Africa as the top contenders for the coveted trophy.
"New Zealand and Australia because they are home. South Africa because they are the best side at the moment. And there is a whole mixture and India is included in that, if they play well in Australia, they have a real chance," he said.
The former left-handed batsman further said the spinners would have a minimal role to play in the World Cup as the tracks have changed over the years to suit the pace attack.
"Things have changed. Wickets in New Zealand used to be quite slow. The slower bowlers used to have an effect but that has bettered a lot in the last five to ten years.
"I don't think spin will play a major role in the tournament. So, your fast bowlers are going to be under more pressure than spinners. There are opportunities for spinners but I will be focusing on fast bowling and not spin," he said.
"It (spin) will play a role but it won't be as predominant as it was in the World Cup over the years. You have to be careful that you have a good mix. Whatever you have, they have got to be able to take wickets. That is going to be the key," he added.