Chennai - South Africa will not rush Jacques Kallis back into action at the World Cup to help the all-rounder recover fully from a rib injury, captain Graeme Smith said on Thursday.
Kallis, 35, suffered a side strain during the third Test against India last month and missed the subsequent five-match one-day series.
Smith told a news conference that Kallis had taken part in a full net practice on Thursday and had started bowling again.
"I don't see the need to expose him too early," Smith said.
"I don't feel the need to put him under pressure today to be ready tomorrow. Having him fit is a big asset so we will manage him well up front."
Kallis will slot into the number three position in South Africa's batting lineup and his variations in bowling, making full use of cutters and reverse swing, will be crucial in subcontinental conditions.
Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock predicted on Thursday that the team would get to the final even though they are currently fourth in the world rankings and only four players have previous experience at a World Cup.
South Africa have never got past the semi-finals at previous tournaments and under Pollock they made a humiliating first round exit at the 2003 World Cup on home soil.
"I have a firm belief that we will definitely make the final, I've got that feeling. We're only ranked fourth, but maybe that's what we need, it's going to be a very open tournament," Pollock told Reuters in Johannesburg.
"We need to plod through the opening round and then put three good performances together at the end and there's no reason we can't win it.
"We've been extremely unfortunate in the past, so we are due some luck, we all hope for a happy ending this time. At some stage, things will run for us and we always have a team that has an excellent chance of winning the competition."
Pollock said he thought 1996 champions Sri Lanka had a real chance of winning the competition.
"The conditions will suit them, even though they have no real pace, Lasith Malinga does a job for them and then their spinners will be a handful. The opposition don't know much about a lot of their players and they've all matured quickly in the last couple of years," he said.
"India will be under a lot of pressure at home while England are low on confidence at the moment and the injury to Eoin Morgan will be a huge loss.
"Australia have their problems too. There's no doubt they'll be competitive, but they've had a few wobbles in recent history that have rocked their foundations. They used to have guys that they could depend on to quickly turn games around, but now everyone needs to be at their best and contributing for them to win.
"Michael Hussey won't be there and they will miss him, but Australia have been there and done it before, which counts for a lot. A lot of their players already have a World Cup under the belt."
South Africa are in Group B at the February 19 - April 2 tournament with Bangladesh, England, India, West Indies, Ireland and the Netherlands.