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Ponting promises no let-up for Kenya

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has promised the champions will field their strongest available side when they face World Cup whipping boys Kenya in a Group A clash tomorrow.

cricket Updated: Mar 12, 2011 14:14 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has promised the champions will field their strongest available side when they face World Cup whipping boys Kenya in a Group A clash on Sunday.

And he added that could mean Michael Hussey returning at the expense of brother David.

Victory for the Aussies, against a Kenya side that has lost all four of their matches, will take the title-holders -- bidding for a fourth straight World Cup trophy and fifth in all -- through to the quarter-finals.

Australia have hardly played any cricket for more than two weeks except briefly in last weekend's washout against Sri Lanka and Ponting said: "We've had enough rest. We've had about a third of a game in the last 16 days.

"We've trained really hard, so we're really keen to get out there and play some cricket so we won't be resting anybody," he said at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.

"If, after training, we've got 15 fit guys to choose from, we'll pick what we think is our best team."

Experienced left-handed batsman Michael Hussey was handed a World Cup lifeline when he was called up as a replacement for injured fast bowler Doug Bollinger.

He was omitted from Australia's squad that travelled to the World Cup despite telling the selectors he would be fit following hamstring surgery. He had been in the original 15.

"If Mike pulls up well from training, there's every chance that he'll play, so we're just going to wait and see how he pulls up in the morning and that's when we'll finalise our eleven," Ponting said.

"Mike has made an exceptional recovery. I've had a close look at him the last couple of days in training. He's striking the ball really well.

"The physio forced him to do some quite intense running yesterday (Friday) out on the ground. He got through that particularly well and had another good hit today (Saturday)."

Ponting added: "There is a tough decision to make. I think if you looked at two players that you'd have to single out, who are in the same sort of position as Mike plays, it's going to be unfortunately probably his brother (David) or someone like Steven Smith.

"With Mike Hussey's skills and experience available to come back in, it was real important we got him back in the group.

"He's the sort of player that can win you big games in big tournaments like the World Cup so to have him back is great."

Ponting has been critical of having four associate or non-Test teams such as Kenya at the World Cup and has welcomed the International Cricket Council's decision to reduce the 2015 edition to 10 teams from 14.

Asked if, in the light of Ireland's win over England he had changed his mind, the star batsman replied: "From what I've seen, it looks like Ireland have come a fair way.

"I am still a believer the World Cup should be a place only for the best eight or 10 teams."

"What I've always said is any of those qualifiers that come in, I'd like to see them really dominate the level below international cricket for a long period of time," Ponting said.

"At least then you know you've got a team that's going to be competitive in a tournament like this."