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Injuries a factor for bad run: Ponting

cricket Updated: Feb 16, 2009 16:56 IST

IANS
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Australian skipper Ricky Ponting believes the cluttered international scheduling is a contributing factor to the debilitating run of the World Champions.

The amount of international cricket played has taken a toll on the fitness of the Australian players.

In all, 14 Australian players have been unavailable at some stage this summer because of injury, including key players such as opening bowlers Brett Lee and Stuart Clark.

Australia lost badly to surrender the one-day series to South Africa in Adelaide, and there were nine players on the injured list at the same time.

"That's as bad a run as I've seen in Australian cricket for a long time. There have been lots of different things which have all added up that explain why we have had as many changes as we have," Ponting was quoted as saying in The Australian.

"I have made it pretty clear over the last few days that I don't think it was any coincidence we played some of our best cricket later in the New Zealand one-day series because we had a relatively settled side."

Even Sunday's Twenty20 team was unrecognisable compared to the more traditional Australian sides. With Ponting and Mike Hussey resting and Michael Clarke forced out with a back injury after a thumb problem hindered him last month, Brad Haddin was the only Test regular in the side.

Haddin was named captain of the Twenty20 team even though he has been playing Test cricket for less than a year and has managed only a dozen Tests.

"We always knew this season was going to be tough physically on us because of the programming from the start of the Indian tour in late September," Ponting said.

"A lot of the Tests were on top of each other, particularly the three South African Tests all back to back. Even the two New Zealand Tests earlier in the summer were on top of each other."

Australia played nine Tests in 13 weeks through India and Australia.

"If you are carrying little niggles from game to game there wasn't enough time for them to get over it," Ponting said.

"If they go straight into another game, those niggles can turn into bigger injuries. That's part of the problem we've had over the past few months."