Ponting undaunted by 'hostile' environment

Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2003, 0:51 [IST]
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Kolkata: Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting on Monday said his team was not daunted either by the prospect of playing in a "hostile environment" at the Eden Gardens or on a pitch that may be conducive to spin bowling. "We are very confident given the way we played the last couple of matches. Our last few games against India were outstanding," Ponting told newspersons after a light practice session on the eve of the tri-series final against India. It may not be a cakewalk for the world beating team but the Australian skipper said his players were ready for the "different" kind of challenge of taking on India before a capacity crowd. "When I went out for toss in Bangalore with Sourav, he said if India makes it to the final, about 120,000 people will come to the ground. When I told my boys about that, they were pretty excited.

"I know it will be a hostile environment in the sense that not many will cheer for us. But hopefully, we will do things to keep them quiet," the dashing batsman said. Ponting also did not appear worried about the dry Eden wicket that may help spinners saying, "we have played the spinners well. Our batsmen have adjusted to spinning conditions fast". The Aussie skipper did not attach too much importance to the toss in the day-night match on Tuesday and said "whatever you do first, you have to do it well". But he conceded that batting under lights "may be a bit difficult."

The skipper, who had a two-hour practice session along with few members of the squad, said the playing eleven was yet to be finalised. "We will take another look at the wicket before finalising the team. Everyone is available, so selection will be tough." And though the Kangaroos have not had any practice under lights at the venue, Ponting said it would not have any bearing on the side as the "conditions do not change much from ground to ground.

There will be no problem as long as the ball is sighted well". The World Cup winning skipper said it could be "bit of gain" for them if rival skipper Sourav Ganguly was unable to play the final because of a groin injury. "The crowd will be pretty disappointed if he doesn't play. Record shows he is an outstanding One-day player. It will be a loss for India and a bit of gain for us." Ponting said the tour had already produced a lot of positives for his side. The team had discovered a new bunch of good fast bowlers in Brad Williams and Nathan Bracken, he said while picking in-form wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist for special praise.

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