ICL: Indian Cricket League

Ponting wary of improving Windies


pontingRicky Ponting says an improving West Indies line-up led by a strong attack will threaten his new-look Australia squad in the three-Test series that starts in the Caribbean this month. The Australians departed for the West Indies on Saturday and Ponting said he expected a tougher contest than when Australia beat a team led by Shivnarine Chanderpaul 3-0 in 2005-06.

“I think of late they have probably played a little bit better and I think they are starting to turn things around there a little bit better at the moment,” Ponting told AAP. “Their bowling attack probably in particular is definitely a lot stronger than the last time we played them in Test cricket.”

West Indies are coming off a 1-1 draw at home to Sri Lanka earlier this year, which followed a 2-1 defeat in South Africa in late 2007. Australia lost their air of invulnerability during their home summer when they secured a 2-1 victory in a tight contest against India, which came after a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka.

The Test group, which already had a fresh look following the retirements of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn, will now have a new wicketkeeper as well for the first time in nearly a decade as Brad Haddin takes over from Adam Gilchrist. However, Ponting was confident his men could build on their efforts from 2007-08.

“As always, they [West Indies] will pose a bit of a threat in their home conditions,” he said. “But saying that, I think with some fresher faces around our group, as well as a bit of a change of personnel from the last (Test) game that we played, I think it’s a really good opportunity for this team to keep forging its own identity.”

Ponting said the team was refreshed after having several weeks off, which for some players involved a stint in the Indian Premier League ahead of their training camp in Brisbane over the past week. Australia will be without Michael Clarke for the start of the tour as he has been granted compassionate leave due to the serious condition of his fiancĂ©’s father.

Ponting was in a similar situation himself ahead of last year’s ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa when he initially stayed home due to the ill health of his wife. Ponting said he had spoken to Clarke, who was named vice-captain for the Caribbean trip, and told him to take as much time off as he needed.

Source:Cricket News

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