Ponting confident his inexperienced team can beat India

September 30th, 2008 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 30 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting said retirement of senior players has not left a void in the team and India would make a big mistake, if they take them lightly in the Test series.Ponting said in hindsight they may come across as a team with relative inexperience, but rigorous domestic competition has sharpened their skills.

“They might be inexperienced in Indian conditions, but they’re as such not inexperienced. They’ve played in various countries and they’ve played a lot of first-class cricket in Australia,” Ponting told reporters here.

Only four players — Ponting, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich– in the current Australian team have played Tests in India.

Ponting though said Australia remained strong despite the absence of key players and retirement of top players like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist since their historic Test series win here four years ago.

“Even though some of our big players have retired, we’ve managed to prove that we can still beat anybody,” said Ponting.

“We will face many challenges over the next six weeks but we are ready for them.”

“Indians play well in their conditions. Probably they have more experienced players than us, but we are confident. With the younger players and their skills, we think we are good enough to win series. You have a lot of exuberance and enthusiasm when you have younger guys in the team.”

Ponting said they are not overawed taking on the experienced Indian team. “We go into every game confident to play at a certain level, and we’re good enough to beat anybody,” Ponting said.

Australian team, which arrived here Monday, will play four-day warmup game here starting Thursday against Indian board XI. The first Test starts in Bangalore on Oct 9.

Ponting said a week-long training camp in Jaipur helped the team get acclimatised to the conditions.

He acknowledged that Australian batsmen faced difficulty against Indian spinners in a two-day game in Jaipur.

About the security concerns after the blast in Delhi, Ponting said there was no apprehension and the team was “comfortable with security assurances.”

“I don’t think that is true reflection of the situation,” he said when his attention was drawn to reports that Stuart Clark was concerned about playing in Delhi.

Ponting said the India-Australia rivalry has grown over the years. “The rivalry is growing up all the time. We have to embrace the growing cricket between the two sides and play to our potential.”

About the controversies of India’s last tour of Australia he said: “The actual tension between two teams during the series last summer was not as high as made out to be by the media.”

“Both captains are responsible for what happens on field and ensure that no one crosses the line.”

Ponting was also confident about his own form.

“Hopefully, I can turn things around. I hope I will not make the mistakes I made in the past. I hope we continue the success we have had in the subcontinent over last 10 years.”

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