Senior players have to stand up in South Africa, says Ponting

February 16th, 2009 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 16 (IANS) Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting feels that senior players in the team should stand up and lead the youngsters in the important tour of South Africa starting Feb 26 with the first Test in Johannesburg.

Injuries have taken a toll on Australian cricket ruling out important players such as Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson from the series. And now most of the players in the 14-man squad that left for South Africa Monday are in their twenties.

“If we look at those on the plane to South Africa, four have never played a Test, two have played only one and just four have played more than Mitchell Johnson’s 18: Clarke, Mike Hussey, Simon Katich and myself,” Ponting wrote in his column in The Australian.

“That creates extra responsibility for us four. As senior players, we must stand up and lead from the front to show the younger players the way,” he said.

Ponting said that injuries have hastened the change to the next generation, but he thought that this change was always round the corner.

“With so many senior players in the team a couple of years ago, change was inevitable, and now I find myself in the most exciting and challenging phase of my five-year term as Test captain,” he said.

The Australian captain felt that as the most senior member of the team the onus is now on him to lead the youngsters with his performance.

“It is a big step from domestic to Test cricket, and we have to make the transition for the younger and inexperienced players as comfortable as possible. I know that as captain and the most experienced player in the team, it is up to me to set the example,” he said.

The 34-year-old Tasmanian hoped that South African pitches will be more suited to batsmen.

“It appeared to us last time that the South Africans were so concerned about Shane Warne, they made pitches more conducive to fast bowling and Stuey (Stuart Clark) exploited them beautifully. With no Warnie this time, I wonder if they’re going to make better batting pitches and simply back their skills against ours,” he said.

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