Bangladesh deserve Test status, says Ponting

Published: Saturday, April 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dhaka:Having earlier called for the dismissal of Bangladesh from Test cricket, Australian captain Ricky Ponting today did a complete volte-face, saying that the minnows were an improving side and deserved a place in the big league now.

''Bangladesh team is improving gradually and they deserved the Test status,'' he said while addressing a press conference at Sonargaon Hotel here today.

He said Bangladesh improved a lot after the 2003 World Cup.

Asked to clarify on his previous comment on Bangladesh's Test status, Ponting said, ''Bangladesh do deserve their test status.'' Ponting said his boys were ready with full strength to play the first away Test series against Bangladesh.

''The boys are little bit tired after a long journey and a successful tour in South Africa, but they are hundred per cent ready for the first Test against Bangladesh beginning on Sunday,'' the Aussie captain said.

The world champions arrived in the capital yesterday for a 23-day tour to play their maiden full-fledged series against the world's bottom-ranked team that includes two Tests and three ODI matches.

The first Test starts on Sunday at the Narayanganj Osmani Stadium in Fatullah, which is holding the first Test match.

Asked about the ODI defeat against Bangladesh in Cardiff last June, Ponting said that was the biggest upset ever in ODI.

''There is a little bit of luck involved in One-day game. But, I don't envisage a repeat performance,'' he said.

''I am sure the exposure Bangladesh gained against some top teams will certainly help them. But, we don't bother about what they are capable of, we want to focus on what we can do,'' he added.

Ponting said the missing of players like Glenn McGrath, Michael Kasprowitz, Justin Langer and Shaun Tait would not make any impact on the team's performance.

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