Inexperince or not, bomb blasts or not, Ricky Ponting oozed a typical Australian confidence the first time he fronted the media on his team's latest Indian sojourn. After a much-hyped stint in Jaipur the team pitched camp in Hyderabad where they will play their first official practice match of the tour against the Board President's XI.
The one concession that Ponting made was admitting that only four of his team had prior Test experience in Indian conditions. "We will go into every game we play confident that we can play at a certain level.” Ponting said. "Over the last 12-18 months, when we have been missing some of our more experienced players, we still managed to show that our best cricket is still good enough to beat everybody.”
“We know that the Indians will play well, they will play their conditions well. But we are confident with the younger faces around the group, their skills are going to be good enough to stand up in India."
Ponting even tried to turn the lack of experience in his unit into a positive. "I don't see it as being a bad thing. A lot has been made about us having an inexperienced team. They're certainly inexperienced when it comes to Indian conditions, but they're not inexperienced players. What you do have with younger guys is a lot of exuberance and energy. It is hot and you can get tired and run down pretty quickly. To have that youthfulness will hold us in good stead as the series wears on."
Stuart Clark recently spoke of his concerns coming to India, with the recent bomb blasts. But Ponting said this was not reflective of the team's mindset. "I don't think that is a true reflection of the group. We haven't sat down as a group and spoken about the situation in Delhi. We've been kept in touch daily by our security people in Australia and around the world to let us know what they think about security issues. At the moment, we're comfortable with the level of security. All we can do as players is rely on the experts and so far, it has been pretty good."
Ponting also became the latest in a line of cricketers to compare the India-Australia rivalry to the Ashes. "There is no doubt Australia and India play a lot against each other now but in coming years, we are going to be playing more and more. The rivalry is good for the world game. The last summer in Australia was a big one, we were pretty happy with the way we played our Test cricket. We know there will be some more challenges we are going to face over the next six weeks, but we all feel as a group and as individual players that we are up and ready for that challenge."