'Chance for youngsters to prove themselves'

Published: Thursday, October 23, 2003, 21:18 [IST]
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New Delhi: The absence of "three world's best fast bowlers" due to injury would not hamper his team's success but present an opportunity for the youngsters to prove themselves, Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting said. "Definitely the job is bit difficult without them (Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee), but it is also a good chance for the younger players coming in to prove themselves," Ponting said on arriving in city.

Three-time World Champions Australia is in India to play a triangular Limited Over cricket series with New Zealand as the third team. India take on New Zealand in the opening day-night match in Chennai on Thursday while Australia play their first match against the hosts in Gwalior on Oct 26. The Australian team arrived in the city on Wednesday night via Singapore to a quiet welcome. Former Australian Test captain and national selector Allan Border travelled with the team. Ponting said the replacements for the three established bowlers were just as good.

"They are the world's best bowlers and their absence does make a difference. But the replacements we have got for them are equally good. "During the World Cup too we were without the services of a couple of players but then Andy Bichel came in and proved himself. "It is a great opportunity for (Nathan) Bracken and other to prove that they are better than the guys who are out of the team," Ponting said. Swashbuckling opening batsman Adam Gilchrist said the conditions in India heavily favoured the batsmen and so the loss of the major strike bowlers would not put additional pressure on the Australian batters.

"Indian conditions, flat tracks and fast outfields, are conducive to big totals. So whatever the bowling, it is always a big run chase, we realised that last time when we came here (in 2001)," Gilchrist said. Ponting said winning in India was as tough as defending the World Cup but his team had the players to accomplish the task.

"India is a difficult place to win but we have the experience, and the players who have played here before and so know the conditions better. "And we won the last time we played here," the Australian captain said. The Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Michael Bevan, Ian Harvey, Brad Hogg, Brad Williams, Andy Bichel, Nathan Bracken, Michael Kasprowicz, Michael Clarke and Jimmy Maher.

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