Australia captain Ricky Ponting said on Thursday he has no regrets giving untested cricketers a chance to play in the tri-series tournament even though the team is unsure of a place in the final.
"We knew it was going to be that way. We have tried to give some guys exposure to international cricket," said Ponting ahead of Australia's last qualifying match against India on Friday that has turned into a virtual semifinal.
"All in all, positives have come out of it so far," said Ponting, referring to the discovery of Mitchell Johnson as a fast bowler and Shane Watson as a possible opener.
Australia will be out of the tournament if it loses to India on Friday, which came back into contention after a thrilling 16-run victory over the West Indies on Wednesday. The West Indies, chasing 163 to win, collapsed for 146, handing India an improbable victory. The West Indies is still at the top of the table with nine points, while Australia is second on seven points and India trails with six. Australia will be able to make it to the final even if rain washes out the match, which would give both teams two points. "Now tomorrow ends up being a really big game for both teams. Both teams will play some good cricket," Ponting said. "Both teams should have their conditions down pat and have their skills at a better level that we did at the start."
Australia came to Malaysia with an 18-man squad that included inexperienced players -- Michael Clarke, Dan Cullen, Mitchell Johnson and Mark Cosgrove -- given some match experience ahead of next month's ICC Champion's Trophy in India and next year's World Cup. "The last thing we need going into the World Cup is to have younger guys in your squad that you don't really know anything about," Ponting said.
World champion Australia's successes in the previous World Cups was based on having experienced players with youth who had "some games under their belt," he said.
In Malaysia, Johnson took four for 11 against India in a rain-abandoned match, and Clarke made 81 against West Indies. All-rounder Watson also staked his claim for a place in the World Cup team taking four wickets for 43 runs in the tournament opener against the West Indies, before making 79 against India. "There's been lot of positives that have come from our experiments so far. Mitchell Johnson was a find for us. It is good to look at guys in different positions," Ponting said. Johnson and Cosgrove have already returned to Australia, which will rest Clarke, Watson, Cullen and Nathan Bracken for Friday's match.
Australia: Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Glenn McGrath.