Ponting to be rested against England

In a bid to manage his workload ahead of the World Cup, Australian captain Ricky Ponting will be rested when the host nation takes on England in Brisbane on Friday in their triangular series One-day International (ODI).

With two wins from as many matches, after comfortable victories over both England and New Zealand, the Australians are at unbackable odds to reach the finals of the series. With that in mind, the Australian selection panel announced here on Monday that Ponting would miss Friday’s game, with wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist to take over the captaincy and Mike Hussey’s incredible rise continuing with his promotion to vice-captain.

Ponting’s omission also opened the door for an unexpected recall for forgotten Victorian batsman Brad Hodge. Hodge, who hasn’t played for Australia for almost a year, is likely to slot into the middle order in Ponting’s absence, in a timely opportunity ahead of the upcoming World Cup.

Australian chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said Ponting had been playing continuously since late September and would benefit from a rest. “We feel that Ricky Ponting needs and deserves a break,” he said.

Hodge, who made a double century against South Africa last summer but lost his Test spot soon after, has played just five One-day Internationals (ODIs) and has the modest average of 15.80. His last limited-overs appearance for Australia was against Sri Lanka last January, and he seemed to have fallen out of favour with the selectors.
Source:The News

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