Monday, January 28, 2008

Ponting out of Twenty20 match

Australia hope that by resting Ricky Ponting from the Twenty20 game they have given him more chance of being fit for the first CB Series match © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has been ruled out of today's Twenty20 match against India in Melbourne as he continues to struggle with a back injury. Ponting batted in the nets on the morning of the game but Australia decided not to risk him and will now attempt to have him ready for Sunday's opening CB Series match against India at the Gabba.
"He pulled up pretty sore this morning," Australia's coach Tim Nielsen said. "His back is just not 100% and with the uncertain nature of Twenty20 cricket and the frantic nature of it we're just a bit concerned that if he has to dive in the first over if we're fielding and pulls up very sore it could leave us one short."
Michael Clarke will captain Australia for the second time in two months and he is set to lead a side with one debutant after Nielsen confirmed David Hussey would play his first match in Australian colours. Brad Hodge will slot into Ponting's No.3 position and Ben Hilfenhaus has been named the 12th man.
Nielsen said with the first tri-series match only two days away there was no guarantee Ponting would be available, and the travel to Brisbane was a concern. "Today's decision was all about today," Nielsen said. "We'll have to keep assessing him and see how he goes each game from here."
Nielsen was confident his players could move on from the controversial Test series and he was impressed with the resolve of the individuals in the team. "Don't for a second think that this is an easy thing to go through for anybody," Nielsen said of the aftermath of the Sydney Test. "It's been draining on our whole group. To be able to continually come out and play as well as we have as a group of individuals and as a collective team is something we're very proud of."

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