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Ponting refuses to underestimate India
December 25, 2007
Refusing to underestimate the visitors, Australian captain Ricky Ponting [Images] gave India high ratings on all counts ahead of the Test series which gets underway on the Boxing Day in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"India have been good opponents in the last few Test series. They have played tough, entertaining cricket. They have good batters and among bowlers, Zaheer Khan [Images] and RP Singh played important roles in their historic win over England [Images] recently," Ponting said.
He singled out India's batting as a key component in their strategy, though he made it obvious that he wouldn't let them make runs as quickly as they did last time around.
"When we lost to them in Adelaide (four years ago), I think we realised we made them score runs too quickly. We over-attacked them too much. We would start the series keeping this stats in mind. We are prepared this time. We know where to bowl and have set plan for every batsmen," he said.
Though Australia would be without Shane Warne [Images] and Glenn McGrath this time, Ponting gave thumbs up to the bowlers in the ranks to get to terms with the Indian batsmen.
"I think we have the bowlers to take 20 wickets in a match.
"Brett (Lee) has been bowling really impressively in all forms of the game. Mitchell Johnson has impressed everyone. (Stuart) Clarke is one of the most accurate bowler going around. Shaun (Tait) in two overs can pick up a few wickets which could change an entire game. Same with (Brad) Hogg," he said.
"I am really excited about the variety and quality in our attack," added the host skipper.
Ponting, meanwhile, made it clear that he wouldn't be overdoing the short-pitch stuff which everyone is encouraging the Australians to throw at the Indians.
"It's important that one doesn't get carried away. Even if bounce is an important weapon, it's important how to use them, when to use them.
"One must know what to follow it up with, when to relax and that sort of stuff."
Ponting didn't feel the age of Indian cricketers would be an issue and that they would get tired and fatigued as the tour progressed.
"The same has been said about our stars who are getting on in years and I don't think that's true at all. Even if their best players are past their prime, they have the ability to stand up series after series."
It appeared an interesting pitch to Ponting who felt it would be a difficult wicket to bat on on the first day of the match.
"It must be damp (having been under covers for so long) and toss would be a critical factor. I hope it falls in our favour tomorrow."