Batting average on Ricky Ponting's mind

Published: Sep 20, 2010, 06:20 IST | Khalid A-H Ansari

In what may be his last tour to India, skipper Ponting is keen to improve on his poor average here

In what may be his last tour to India, skipper Ponting is keen to improve on his poor average here

Before his team's departure for India on a tour that is almost certainly his last before retirement, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said he is determined to do well against the world No.1 Test team.

"We have to do a lot of things right if we want to be competitive over there. I'm as determined as ever,"he said.

"I'm feeling excited about the tour. It's a great challenge for me personally knowing that I haven't performed as well there as I would have liked in the past," he said.

Ponting has scored 12,026 runs in Tests, but only 438 of them have come in India. His average of just 20.85 against India is undistinguished compared with his career average of 54.66 from 146 Tests.

"I've had really a good break and worked pretty hard on my body and game over the last few weeks to make sure I'm in good touch for when I get there.

Asked at a media briefing if the tour would be a contest between the No. 1 ranked Test team and an Australian team that still thinks it is No.1, Ponting replied: "No. I think we've got some work to do there. I'd love to get the team back to No. 1 again and this will hopefully be one of those steps along the way.

"If we play the cricket I know we are capable of in India and we can win the series, that will do great things for us to get back up near the No.1 ranking."

With Cricinfo naming Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag in the website's greatest Indian team of all time, Australian coach Tim Nielsen said:

"They're the No. 1 ranked team in the world and that's no fluke. We get the chance to test ourselves against the best in their home conditions in a completely different environment to what we've had in the past 12 months.

"We were at home last summer, went to New Zealand, played two Tests in England with the ball swinging and seaming.

"That won't be happening in India. Our batsmen will be facing quality spin bowling on turning decks. They're good old-fashioned, hard Test match slogs."

Ponting also said an important aspect of his role as captain was to make sure his emerging players know how to deal with the curse of corruption.

The Australian team was briefed by anti-corruption officers during a recent camp, something the BCCI would do well to emulate.

With Indian bookmakers making front page headlines in recent times because of their suspected global network of betting and match-fixing, Ponting said he would himself do everything possible to help his young players deal with possible attempts to corrupt them.

 "Me, being a captain of the side, and a big part of the leadership group, will make sure any young guy coming into the squad is briefed about a number of things and, obviously, with corruption being the topic that's on everyone's lips at the moment, we'll make sure that the new young players are very aware of everything they could be confronted with in the next few weeks."

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