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Oz set for an easy outing

Aussies look to brush aside Canada before the key group clash vs Pakistan. Subhash Rajta reports.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2011 01:42 IST
Subhash Rajta

Ricky Ponting is brutally honest. He's perhaps the only skipper of a major team to back the International Cricket Council (ICC) decision to show the minnows the door from the next World Cup. "I am not sure how much they learn, getting hammered the way they do. At the end of the day, the World Cup will probably be a better tournament if there are fewer teams," he said soon after the tournament began.

And even though Ireland upset England, who were also run close by Netherlands, the Australian skipper wasn't impressed.

On Tuesday, on the eve of their game against Canada, Ponting flatly ruled out the possibility of their unfancied opponents springing any surprise. "I would love to think 'no'. We are an experienced team and skillful enough team to win it comfortably," he said bluntly.

While the Australian skipper's opinion about the minnows may not suggest any respect, the preparation for the battle of the unequal suggests otherwise. Minutes after he ruled out the possibility of Canada throwing up any challenge, the Aussies were busy training as hard as they would for any match against a top-notch opposition.

Always on a high
The defending champions, already assured of a berth in the quarters, toiled for close to three hours under the hot sun to get into top shape. Australia's only tough match so far, against Sri Lanka, was washed out; their final league game against Pakistan will be the first of four straight high-profile clashes they have to win if they are to defend the title.

"We try and prepare best for each game that we play. We approach it like every other game. We want to win every game as easy as possible," said Ponting. No wonder, Australia are on a record 33-match unbeaten run in the World Cup.

Last time for Canada
With Australia intent on going full throttle, the challenge for Canada, who could be turning out for the last time in the World Cup, becomes even bigger. Can Canada realistically even think of putting it across Australia?

"For us it's just not about proving a point to Ponting, but also to ourselves," Canada skipper Ashish Bagai said, reiterating the Aussie skipper's brushing off his team.

"And giving the ICC a reason to rethink their decision," added Bagai.