Ponting confident of sustaining peak-performance

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2002, 20:27 [IST]
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Melbourne: Ricky Ponting says Australia will have no problems remaining at its peak throughout cricket's World Cup, starting in southern Africa in February. The Australian Limited Overs captain was on Tuesday confident his side could continue its unchecked run. Under Ponting Australia has won 15 and lost three matches (one tie, one no-result) since it failed to make the finals of last summer's triangular One-day home series against South Africa and New Zealand.

Ponting said his 15-man squad would live up to its number one tag and follow on from the 1999 World Cup triumph in England. "It's a hard thing to do in One-day cricket to keep performing at a very high level all the time," Ponting said on Tuesday. "But it can be different in a World Cup because you've got quite a few days break in between games to get yourself ready for the next game so there'll be no excuses as far as we're concerned."

Ponting said Australia had been stung by its seven-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals of September's ICC Champion's Trophy. "We probably weren't quite ready for the conditions we faced that day," he said. "But in saying that we'll be better prepared this time and it's a big tournament and I'm sure we can get up for every game while we're there."

Ponting said the squad was well balanced and additions Andrew Symonds, Jimmy Maher and Brad Hogg were all experienced cricketers, whose strong characters also strengthened the party. Ponting said key leg spinner Shane Warne was also on track to recover from a dislocated shoulder in time to make the trip. "He's been training hard and he's been having a lot of physio and recuperative work on his shoulder and everything seems pretty positive there," he said.

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