Punter signals preference change

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has responded to his sides lack of ability to defend large totals by a change in tactics – batting second.

The move comes after his side failed to defend totals in excess of 300, twice, during the recently completed Chappell-Hadlee series in New Zealand and the famous ODI at Johannesburg last year where Australia were unable to defend a world record 434 against South Africa.

“We’re going to come up against some small grounds in the World Cup so the consideration of batting second in one-day cricket is something there to think about,” Ponting said.

“That straight away eases a bit of the pressure on the bowlers.”

Ponting also rejected claims that his side was in “dire straits”, arguing his side could still be a major force at the World Cup.

“We’ve had a few injuries and lost a few guys, but I’m pretty confident that we’ll be ultra competitive in every game we play,” he said.

“If you sat back and look at the results only and you notice that we’ve lost five games in a row, it doesn’t read that well.

“But I think right through everyone of those games we’ve done lots of things well, but we haven’t done them well enough for long enough.

“We’ve got some areas we need to address, but we’ve got a little bit of time now … there’s a good chance for the guys now to freshen up after a long summer for a few days, and we’ll get over there and make sure we’re working as hard as ever on our game.”

Ponting, who was rested for the Chappell-Hadlee series because of persistent back pains, said his injury was under control and he would be a certain starter for the World Cup in March.

“My back’s fine, ” he said.

“Doctors said on the day that I had the injections it would be three to four days of not doing much before the injection settles down.

“It’s been about a week and the last few nights I’ve slept a lot better and felt a lot better in the morning. Hopefully, when I get to West Indies I’ll be pain-free and ready to go.”

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