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Playing spin the challenge: Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting speaks much the way he gathers his runs. In a hurry and a lot in a little time. And the fact that he keeps a straight face doing both is just another common point, reports HT Correspondent.

cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2009 00:41 IST
HT Correspondent

Ricky Ponting speaks much the way he gathers his runs. In a hurry and a lot in a little time. And the fact that he keeps a straight face doing both is just another common point.

But about the forthcoming seven-match ODI series against India, a format the Aussie captain has expressed his doubts about, he put it succinctly, calling it a contest between the number one and number two teams in the world.

"...All pointing to an entertaining and good contest over the next few weeks," said Ponting here on Wednesday in the pre-series press conference.

Ponting appears a tad too confident for a captain of a team supposed to be going through a transition. But one can be forgiven for self-belief if they have just thrashed England 6-1 and defended the Champions Trophy.

"We couldn't have done much better than the last 12 games of one-day cricket we have played. We have played consistently good one-day cricket and I'll expect that to continue over the next couple of weeks in India."

However, Australia, when compared to the last 15 years, have seen a dip in their form off late. And Ponting said they would like to keep the recent good form going against India.

"If you look at the Australian teams of the past we have remained consistent whether its Test or one-day cricket," Ponting said.

"There have been some ups and downs over the last two years in Test and one-day cricket. At the moment we have been playing some consistently good one-day cricket and I expect it to continue in India."

Asked how important it is for his team to win here and its implications in the long run, Ponting said: "The challenge will be how our middle order batsmen cope up with playing spin. Michael Hussey has played a lot of cricket here. Shane Watson and Tim Paine play spin well. Our record in one day cricket in the sub continent is good," he said.

"We have got a lot of young players, young as far as experience goes, who are finding their feet in international cricket," Ponting added.

"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."

Ponting said a lot of responsibility rested on his shoulders. "I have a good record in one-dayers here as compared to Tests. I have played some of my best one-day cricket over the last few months. A lot of responsibility is on my shoulders," he said.

Like every other Aussie captain has said before him, Ponting said playing India at home is a difficult task.

"We know that the Indian team will play well in their conditions. They may not have the class of Zaheer in the pace department, but they know their job well. It's for us to get on top of the Indian bowling and not give them enough opportunities in the series,"

Ponting also said that Indians were strengthened by the return of Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh while his team had been weakened by the absence of Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson and Nathan Bracken.