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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Bhajju doesn't worry us: Ponting

Our Correspondent in Centurion | February 14, 2003 18:36 IST

Australian captain Ricky Ponting struck a typically defiant note on the eve of their match against India, saying the Aussies were not breaking into a sweat over Harbhajan Singh.

"Sure, he is a good offspinner. But frankly, we are not spending sleepless nights over him," Ponting said, as Australia prepared to take on India in a Pool A match at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday. "We spend much of our time focusing on ourselves, and our performances and possibilities, instead of worrying over the bowling or batting of the opposition side," he said.

Asked if the back-to-back matches against Pakistan (which Australia won on Tuesday) and India (tomorrow) was putting some pressure on the Aussies, Ponting answered in the negative. "Pakistan and India are two different teams. Pakistan relies on pace, India relies on its batting. So the experience of taking them on is entirely different,' Ponting said.

The Australian team took the day off after their win against Pakistan, which came in the wake of the Shane Warne scandal. But they have had two good days at the nets and are looking forward with the return of Darren Lehmann and Michael Bevan, in place of Jimmy Maher and Andrew Bichel. Lehmann is returning from suspension for a racial slur against the Sri Lanka, and Bevan is back from injury.

PTI adds: Ponting acknowledged India's strength but was sure his team would not suffer from any "negative thoughts" for what happened on their 2001 tour of India.

"I don't think anyone would be going tomorrow with any negative thoughts," Ponting said.

"It's a hurdle we didn't cross as a Test team but it is one-day cricket and a different affair."

Wary of the might of the Indian batting, Ponting said it was absolutely crucial for his bowlers to take early wickets.

"The new ball is going to be vital in this World Cup. We know we need to take early wickets tomorrow to put India under pressure. They have some very good batsmen right down the order," he said.

"When we bat tomorrow, it is important we go through the initial overs against Indian pace bowlers and set up the game from there," he said.

Australia had lost early wickets in their opening game against Pakistan before Ponting and Andrew Symonds steadied the innings with fine knocks.

Ponting said his team would have to adopt a different strategy against India as compared to Pakistan because the two sub-continental teams were not alike.

"They are a bit different in their make-up. While Pakistan relies more on their bowlers, Indians are more of a strong batting side. They are contrasting in their make-up."

But having inflicted a crushing defeat on Pakistan, Ponting had not doubts as to which team was favourite in tomorrow's game.

"We start favourites in any game we play these days and we are well-prepared. But the Indians are a very, very good one-day side," he said.

Ponting said his team had no time to worry about the opposition as it was busy sorting out its own problems. The return of Michael Bevan and Darren Lehmann would boost the side but the absence of Shane Warne, sent home after testing positive for a banned substance, would obviously be felt.

"I am not worried about them and pretty concerned about how we are going to approach this game," he said while confirming that spinner Brad Hogg would continue to play in place of Warne.

"They are very good players of spin but Brad has done a good job for Australia. The Indians probably haven't seen too many left-arm leg spinners. It's a good challenge for him to bowl against them and it would be one for them as well if he hits form," Ponting said.

Was Australia packing its team with batsmen, Ponting was asked. But the Tasmanian drove bravely. "Darren is a vastly improved spinner. Bevan bowls. Damien Martyn and I can bowl medium pace. So rather than looking at it as packing the side with batsmen, I would say we have bowlers and all-rounders."

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: Ponting is worried

Ponting is surely worried because India is the only team who challenged Australia's supremacy time and again. But does he know, now India has become ...

Posted by Dr.Sashi Nair


Pointing thinks that his team is very capable against Bhajju. But I think he should think of the verbal fight which he had with bajju(i ...

Posted by Rohan


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