Ponting in doubt for SA ODI series

The Aussie captain risks aggravating a stomach muscle strain if he plays in the remainder of the five-match ODI series in South Africa.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 17:12 IST

Captain Ricky Ponting risks aggravating a stomach muscle strain if he plays in the remainder of the five-match one-day cricket series in South Africa, team physiotherapist Errol Alcott has warned.

While Ponting is an outside chance of returning to lead Australia in the second day-night match in Cape Town tomorrow, medical opinion is that he will miss the game and also Sunday's match in Port Elizabeth.

With a schedule of five Tests in South Africa and Bangladesh in as many weeks coming up, there is a reluctance to expose any likely member of the Test squad to unnecessary risk.

Alcott said he was far less optimistic than Ponting about the skipper's chances of playing this weekend and conceded he risked aggravating the stomach strain in the more frenetic pace of limited-overs cricket.

"Definitely, all soft tissue injuries are in that category with one-day cricket," Alcott told The Australian on Thursday.

"It's a faster game and, especially a guy like him (Ponting), he's like a little pocket dynamo and everything he does he's 100 percent.

"He's very optimistic each day and then I have a session with him and it brings him back to reality again.

"In his everyday movements he's feeling improved but, as far as being out in the middle playing for Australia, that's a different stress."

Ponting has not trained since sustaining the injury in the practice nets at Centurion last Saturday, and he has spent his time at practice sessions this week casting an eye over the performance of his teammates.

New South Wales opening batsman Phil Jaques will join the Australian squad in Cape Town on Thursday.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 17:12 IST