Ponting sings Ashes tune to lessen ouster pain

June 9th, 2009 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 9 (IANS) Knocked out of the World Twenty20, Australian captain Ricky Ponting was left singing the Ashes tune to lessen their pain.
The World Champions in the 50-over format slumped to their second loss in the league stage with an inspiring Sri Lankan side outplaying them by six wickets Tuesday.

Australia’s campaign thus met an early end, having been humbled by Chris Gayle’ West Indies in the first Group C match.

Australia will now retire to their new base in Leicester, licking their wounds and wait for their journey to Hove to play Sussex June 24 as an Ashes build-up.

“I can’t tell you how disappointed we are,” Ponting said Tuesday.

“If there’s one positive, it’s that we have a bit more time to prepare for the Ashes.”

Ponting tipped India, West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa as contenders for the title.

“India have a very good chance of winning; West Indies can be very dangerous; we saw what the Sri Lankans can do if they get conditions that suit their spin bowlers; South Africa have a very well-rounded side in this form of the game. I think the winner will probably come from one of those four,” he said.

Twenty20 cricket has never been the focus of Australian players who take great pride in being a champion side in traditional Test and One-dayer formats. With Ashes looming large, Australia were tentative in their approach to the World Twenty20 and it resulted in their downfall.

“Our Test cricket has been the shining light during the past few months,” Ponting said, recalling their series win in South Africa which re-established them as the leading Test side in the world.

“Our one-day form hasn’t been terrific. We will have a quick chat about where our Twenty20 cricket is at tonight and then we will have to move on because we have some Test matches just around the corner.”

Ponting was drawing comfort from the fact that they have a bigger job to do in Ashes and other upcoming Test cricket.

“The Twenty20 players will be out of here pretty soon and I guess that, when they leave, then we have to focus on Test cricket because there will be nothing else to talk about. It will be my job to make sure we get over this loss pretty quickly.”

“I have never been a big one about believing in success carrying from one series to another, particularly when it is different forms of the game. We have a vast changeover of players for the Ashes and, when they get here, it will be about rebuilding some of the good stuff that we had going on when we won in South Africa. There will be no better place to be in England, getting caught up in the excitement of the Ashes.”

Whatever Ponting might say, Australia will endure some sleepless nights watching the top teams competing in the Super Eights in World Twenty20. And among them will be minnows Ireland, a pointer to the Aussies to do a quick re-think of their Twenty20 plans.

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