Aussies out to settle scores
|Ponting lavishes praise on India’s recent World Twenty20 win|
— Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
FOCUSSED ON THE CHALLENGE: After the loss to India in the World Twenty20, the Australian team led by Ricky Ponting (right), coach Tim Nielsen (centre) and Adam Gilchrist will be keen on setting the record straight.
BANGALORE: Ricky Ponting has believed in leading from the front. And the Australians — champions in both Tests and one-dayers — play their cricket with a lot of passion.
This streak was evident when Ponting addressed the media for the first time ahead of the opening ODI, a day-night affair at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday, of the seven-match series against India.
India’s clinical efficiency in ousting Australia in the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 has hurt his team. The Aussies will now be planning to come down hard during the present series.
While lauding the efforts of the Indian team, Ponting promised a fitting retaliation, Aussie style.
“One thing that stood out for all of us looking at the Indian team during the Twenty20 has been the amount of youthfulness they had in the team, giving it a nice fresh air,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate that some of the younger guys who were in this team will be making way for the senior guys — Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Zaheer Khan. This could turn in our favour since we know these guys a lot deal better.
“Having played a great deal against these seniors, we are aware of their strengths and weaknesses very well. So, if anything, probably it will make it easier for us to play with these guys in the team,” Ponting added.
On the pressure playing in the sub-continent, Ponting said, “if anything, pressure will probably be back on India. There would be a lot of expectations after the Twenty20 triumph. There is no doubt that some of the players will be under pressure. They (India) played great cricket. They deserved to come back as champions. But that’s finished now. We got to look forward to this series… and it’s a lot different”.
On Sreesanth’s tit-for-tat aggression: ``I know Sreesanth is going to be at his aggressive best. And fast bowling is all about being that. But then I expect all the guys in our side to play with a lot of aggression and be very positive with the way they go about things,” Ponting said.
“`I have been watching this lad (Sreesanth) for the past couple of seasons and we expected him to come at us. Our game plan too is to come out as aggressively as we possibly can in this series and impose ourselves on the Indians. If we do that, I am sure we will go a long way in winning the series” Ponting added.
On injuries to some of his key players — Mike Hussey, Shane Watson and Stuart Tait: ``yeah some of our guys have been laid low.
The spongy outfield during the Twenty20 tournament and the constant travel (we travelled the most) due to the scheduling have ensured that some of our guys are missing this series. But we have some useful guys coming in their place and out to prove themselves.”
Ponting’s own injury, which forced him to miss a couple of matches in South Africa is a cause for worry and Adam Voges has come here as his cover.
PTI reports from Bangalore:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership qualities have earned him kudos from Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.
“He has done a pretty good job for the team,” Ponting said. “Leading a team to such a triumph just after taking over as captain is a great achievement,” he added.
Ponting also said, “the captain is as good as the team. Lot of players stood up (rose to the occasion at the World Twenty20).”
Stand-in skipper Gilchrist said one of the main reasons for India’s triumph in South Africa was that the side was “well-led.”
“Dhoni did a terrific job. The team played the big moments very well.”
Gilchrist said Dhoni handled himself with a lot of dignity off the field, while on it he seemed to have a cool mind and a well planned strategy, which are qualities of a good captain.
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