'Ponting may play in Kochi ODI'

  • PTI, Kochi
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2007 18:31 IST

Ricky Ponting is recovering well and stands a good chance of playing in the second match of the one-day cricket series against India on Tuesday, Australia's stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist said.

Ponting picked up a hamstring injury during the early stages of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa and missed the remainder of the tournament.

Though he arrived at Kochi with the rest of the team, Ponting missed the first match.

"He's progressing very well. He was very close to playing in Bangalore," Gilchrist told reporters.

"We have not finalised the team for the morrow. We will assess his condition before the match here and there is a good chance of him playing," he added.

Gilchrist also asserted that even if Ponting missed the match, the side has enough depth to compensate for his absence.

"It's always sad to lose the best batsman in the world. But we're not unstable. We think we've depth," Gilchrist said.

He cited the examples of James Hopes and Brad Haddin in the Bangalore match and said, "A few of our guys would not have been in the eleven. But they got great opportunities like James Hopes and Brad Haddin got in the first game. Without injuries to others, they might not have played."

Though rain threatens to wash out tomorrow's tie as well, Gilchrist said he could only hope that the match was played.

"The outfield is soggy, especially a few areas but they (groundsmen) are working very hard. Hopefully, if there is no more rain, I think we've good chance of playing here. It's hard to predict the weather.

On being confined to the hotel rooms with no practice sessions, Gilchrist said, "It's frustrating for both the teams as they are affected in a similar fashion. It's not like one team is getting an advantage. We're doing whatever we can.

"It's a tricky situation with all reports predicting more rains. We'll keep preparing and get physically fit. We expect to play and that's all we can do."

Another washed out tie would make it a five-match series and Gilchrist said that would put pressure on both teams in the remaining matches.

"They're all going to be high-intensity games," he said.

Gilchrist reckoned the pitch here would be spinner-friendly and said "Last time we played India here, Sachin picked up five wickets with a variety of leg-spin, off-spin and googlies.

"Ten years ago when we came it was a batting track with over 300-plus scores recorded. Even now it looks like a batting track. However it was definitely warmer in 1998 than now."

Gilchrist also shared his view on Twenty20 cricket and said, "50-over cricket tests the skill of a player better compared to 20-20. But the latter is a valuable product now and let's hope we'll use it in a right way. However, I still feel Test cricket is the ultimate test."


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