Ponting denies claims of captaincy strains with Waugh

Published: Friday, October 18, 2002, 18:02 [IST]
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Sydney: Ricky Ponting has dismissed claims that there's a strained relationship with Steve Waugh over the Australian Test captaincy.

Ponting, who took over as One-day skipper when Waugh was axed from the team earlier this year, says he is not working to any timetable as pressure builds on 37-year-old Waugh to hold on to the Test captaincy for the imminent Ashes series with England. Pakistan coach Richard Pybus has suggested there would be "electricity" between Ponting and Steve Waugh over the Test captaincy. Ponting, who is expected to lead Australia into next year's World Cup tournament in Southern Africa, said he heard of Pybus's comments when he spoke to his wife on the telephone this week from Sharjah where Australia is playing Pakistan in a three-Test series. "I laughed at that. How would he (Pybus) know anyway?" Ponting was reported as saying in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on Friday. "He doesn't know anything about how our team operates or how we are as individuals." Ponting, one of Australia's key batsmen for the five-Test Ashes series with England beginning in Brisbane on November 7, said he was focusing on his cricket rather than being distracted about speculation over the Test captaincy. "Whatever happens, happens. I won't be losing any sleep about it at all. It's just cricket as usual for me," Ponting said. Ponting says his thinking is no different at Test level now that he is One-day captain. "I've always thought of myself as a captain on the ground, and tried to think as captain all the time anyway. I'm still doing that now but I'm certainly not doing any more than I used to," he said. Steve and his twin brother Mark Waugh are under pressure to hold down their places in the crack Australian team. Mark has scores of 55, 0 and 2 in three innings in the series against Pakistan, and Steve followed up his 31 in the first innings of the first Colombo Test with two ducks. The Australian team is at the end of an era, Pybus said, and warned the selectors to think about blooding new players or risk the team becoming stale. "The Waugh brothers look like they are under a tremendous amount of pressure," Pybus said of the twins who have played 277 Tests between them. But Ponting said it would be wrong to make big decisions based on this series, taken away from Pakistan because of security fears. "Over a three-Test series if you get a good ball and a bad decision, and there's most of your series gone. It is a little bit hard to really judge Steve and Mark on what's happened in the first two games," he said.

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