WC 2003 - It~~s not money, it~~s the standards that is dear: Ponting

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Australian captain Ricky Ponting saluted his team for retaining the cricket World Cup on Sunday, saying the players stood up to be counted when it mattered most. "I am at a loss for words but I can say we were outstanding," said Ponting, whose unbeaten 140 off 121 balls helped Australia crush India by 125 runs in a one-sided final at the Wanderers.Australian captain Ricky Ponting"To do it when it mattered most was really something special, especially after I've been struggling," explained Ponting after Australia became the first side to win three World Cups."We remained unbeaten in the whole tournament and that says a lot for the team," said Ponting, whose innings was the cornerstone of Australia's 359 for two its best total in One-day cricket and the largest in a World Cup final."The World Cup comes once in four years and the boys put their hands up and performed when it mattered most."He added the fact that his team won the cup despite injuries to the likes of Jason Gillespie as well as the absence of star spinner Shane Warne, whose positive drugs test was revealed on the morning of Australia's first match of the tournament against Pakistan, was a tribute to the character of the team."We've been tested throughout this World Cup with injuries and the Warne issue. Andrew Bichel and Andy Symonds have had sensational World Cups. The guys who have come in, well done to them."Ponting hit eight sixes and four boundaries to compile the highest score in the final of cricket's showpiece, surpassing West Indian Vivian Richards' 138 not out against England in 1979. "It's the most satisfying," Ponting told reporters when asked if it was his best innings. And the Tasmanian batsman said he knew from early on that his side had the edge."The Indians body language was pretty ordinary for most of the day. It was important Damien Martyn and I kept our partnership going."Martyn (finger) and Andy Bichel (shoulder) were only passed fit on the morning of the match and Ponting said, "They are two very important players. It was important they looked me in the eye and told me they were right to play."Australia's only real moment of worry came when rain forced a 25-minute stoppage before 25 overs had been completed in India's innings. Had that mark not been reached, the final would have been replayed from scratch on Monday, Australia's innings counting for nothing. "There were lots of things going through my mind," Ponting admitted. "But the rain held off long enough for us to get there." Ponting said that more important to him than money - the winners' purse of $ two million - or records was the way Australia played. "Seventeen straight wins doesn't mean much. What does mean much is the standards we set for ourselves. They are high and we set new standards today."Copyright AFP 2001

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