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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Lee may not open bowling: Ponting

Brian Murgatroyd | February 10, 2003 16:26 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting says fast bowler Brett Lee might not take the new ball in Tuesday's World Cup Group A match against Pakistan despite his outstanding recent form.

Ponting gave Lee the added responsibility of opening the bowling when Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie were injured during the recent triangular series against England and Sri Lanka.

Lee responded by bowling well enough to earn the player of the series award but, with McGrath and Gillespie both fit again, Ponting acknowledged the 26-year-old was no certainty to take the new ball at The Wanderers.

"It will be tough on Brett but Jason and Glenn have done the job for a long time, opening the bowling, and both are very good new ball bowlers," said Ponting.

"Brett can also do that job but he can also do a job through the middle and at the end as well, so it is a tough decision.

"We might just have to wait and see what the conditions are like on the day and if it is overcast so the ball could swing that would favour Brett getting the new ball."

Lee's recent form has delighted Ponting, who is confident his fast bowler is set to make a major impact on the tournament.

"The work Brett's done in the last 12 months suggests he is improving all the time," said the Australia captain.

"His one-day bowling in Australia was fantastic, he has done a job with the new ball and at the death and he has learnt a lot about what it takes to be a good one-day bowler.


"If Brett Lee gets it right, he can be very dangerous and he has done that most of the time of late," Ponting added.

The Wanderers venue is where Lee reached the 156 kph mark with two deliveries in a one-day international against South Africa in April 2000 and Ponting expects both Lee and Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to reach similar speeds on Tuesday.

"The wicket might have a bit of grass so maybe it will be quick and bouncy and good for one-day cricket," he said.

"Shoaib and Brett will both be pumped up as the ball travels faster through the air than in Australia or most other places."

Ponting said batsman Michael Bevan had not recovered sufficiently from his torn groin muscle to play on Tuesday.

With Darren Lehmann serving the final match of his five-game ban, Jimmy Maher is guaranteed a berth in the middle order.

Australia are likely to play two spinners in Shane Warne and Brad Hogg and their main selection decision could be the choice between 'bits-and-pieces' players Andrew Symonds and Ian Harvey.

Pakistan are still waiting on the fitness of opening batsman Saeed Anwar, who suffered a bruised left arm when he was struck by a delivery from team mate Shoaib in the nets last Tuesday.

Pakistan team manager Shaharyar Khan told Reuters on Sunday: "He (Anwar) fielded today but is not yet ready to bat. His last chance to prove his fitness is Monday but he is cutting it fine."


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