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Give it a miss, Punter tells Pigeon

Skipper Ricky Ponting has asked McGrath to skip the tournament and play some county cricket to prepare for the Ashes.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 17:01 IST

Despite Cricket Australia assuring ICC that it would send its strongest team to the Champions Trophy later this year, skipper Ricky Ponting has asked pace spearhead Glenn McGrath skip the tournament and play some county cricket to prepare for the Ashes.

"McGrath would be better off missing the Champions Trophy and he might be better served by getting some work in county cricket before the Australian summer," Ponting said after returning from the tour of Bangladesh.

McGrath had missed the tours of South Africa and Bangladesh to be with his ailing wife who is battling a recurrence of breast cancer.

Cricket Australia had earlier said that ICC events were its topmost priority and they would send their best side to the limited overs tournament to be held in India in October-November.

Meanwhile, Ponting expressed confidence that his team was on the right track to reclaim the Ashes when the oldest rivalry in cricket rekindles later this year.

"Australia are heading in the right direction for the start of the Ashes campaign," the master batsman said.

Australia's Test and one-day teams were performing well ahead of an important 12 months, that include the Ashes and the World Cup, he said.

"With both forms of the game, I'm really happy with the way things are going," Ponting told AAP.

First Published: Apr 30, 2006 17:01 IST