ICL: Indian Cricket League

Australia, West Indies seek Champions Trophy boost


Australia and the West Indies will be looking to gain a psychological edge ahead of next month’s Champions Trophy when they face each other in the tri-series final on Sunday (today).

World champions Australia earned their place in the final with a tense 18-run victory over India on Friday while the West Indies had already booked their berth earlier in the week.

After juggling his squad around during their four preliminary matches, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has opted for his strongest possible team in the decider.

Simon Katich and all rounder Shane Watson will open the batting, although there is no room for Matthew Hayden, who scored 49 and 54 in his last two innings, because he is not part of the Champions Trophy squad. Brett Lee, who took five wickets against India on Friday, will open the bowling with the experienced Glenn McGrath.

Australia initially arrived with an 18-man squad but halfway through the tournament, impressive fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, opening bat Phil Jaques and Mark Cosgrove returned home.

“It was always going to be like that,” Ponting told reporters. “We had some young players who needed to be exposed to international cricket and we wanted to experiment a bit. We did enough to get to the final,” he added.

Ponting said the Malaysian tri-series and the Champions Trophy in India would play an important part in deciding Australia’s squad for the Ashes against England later this year.

“We only have one-day matches before the Ashes tour starts so that’s where the players have to perform,” Ponting added.

There are no surprises in the West Indies squad with skipper Brian Lara recalling fast bowlers Ian Bradshaw and Jerome Taylor, who were rested in their defeat to India on Wednesday. However, the Champions Trophy holders must improve their fragile batting if they are to have any chance of fending off Lee and McGrath.

Lara was hoping the problem would have been resolved against India by pushing a few low-order batsmen up the order, but his side crumbled again and were dismissed 16 runs short of a low Indian total of 162.

“Both teams want to win badly,” said Lara, who is one of the few West Indies batsmen showing form at the crease. “McGrath hasn’t been taking that many wickets but he’s keeping it tight and creating pressure for other guys to take wickets. If we can survive the first 10 or 15 overs without losing a wicket, it could be important. We have to value our wickets out there,” he added.

Squads: Australia - Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Glenn McGrath; West Indies - Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Wavell Hinds, Runako Morton, Dwayne Smith, Carlton Baugh, Ian Bradshaw, Jerome Taylor.

Source:The News

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