IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

We’re not underestimating India - Ponting


pontingAustralian captain Ricky Ponting has said it would be wrong to pick favourites before their seven-match ODI series gets underway in India on October 25. Though Australia have the momentum in their favour, following their Champions Trophy victory in South Africa, Ponting expected the home side to give them a fight.

“India is a very good and strong one-day team and we are not underestimating them. We are the number one and two teams in the world and it all points to an entertaining and good contest over the next few weeks,” he said in Mumbai a day after the team landed.

“We have always enjoyed playing in India and against India. Our rivalry over the last few years has been growing and its good for the world game.”

Both teams arrived in South Africa with series wins under their belt but left the country with contrasting results. Australia had drubbed England 6-1 after losing the Ashes and went on to retain the Champions Trophy. India won the tri-series in Sri Lanka but failed to reach the semi-finals in South Africa. They were without the services of two key batsmen in Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh due to injury, but both have returned for the ODIs to bolster the side.

Ponting said his team will have to keep in mind that India are a stronger outfit now and stay on top of their game.

“We have played some excellent one-day cricket over the last few months beginning from the England tour and in the Champions Trophy,” Ponting said. “We need to keep improving and need to be at our best right through the series.”

Australia won their last bilateral series outing in India in 2007 but two key players from that series - Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds - are missing, for different reasons. Clarke could join the tour midway if his sore back recovers but Ponting said it was a good opportunity for the less-experienced players to step up. The team has one rookie in Victorian left-arm spinner Jon Holland, already in India for the Champions League.

“We have got a lot of young players, young as far as experience goes, who are finding their feet in international cricket. We have played some good one-day cricket over the last few months and they have grown in confidence from that. This series offers them different set of challenges.”

One of those challenges, he said, will be tackling the spinners especially since many members of the team don’t have enough time to acclimatise. He said the Victoria and New South Wales players for the Champions League have a head start.

“It’s good they have got used to the conditions but on the other hand it would have been nice to have them in the group a little bit sooner,” he said. “The challenge will be how our middle order batsmen cope up with playing spin bowling over the next few weeks. Michael Hussey has played a lot of cricket here. Shane Watson and Tim Paine play spin well.”

The first ODI is in Vadodara on Sunday.
Source:Cricket News

Image Source:Cricinfo

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