Ponting warns of Ashes performance anxiety

Published: Tuesday, July 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia must treat the upcoming Ashes series against England like any other to avoid the performance anxiety that contributed to them losing the trophy last year, captain Ricky Ponting said.

Ponting said he wanted calm heads to prevail during the blockbuster cricket series, warning desire for revenge could be counter-productive.

"The more sometimes you build things up the harder it can be to perform," Ponting told reporters on Tuesday.

"We'll ... make sure that we're not treating it any differently or any more serious than any other series we've played in."

The Australian captain said part of the reason his side lost the Ashes for the first time in 18 years last September was because his players concentrated too much on the significance of the series.

"We all wanted it so much. When we got put under pressure in a couple of Test matches, because we wanted to win so much I think that actually got in the way," he said.

Ponting said that he would attempt to emulate Australia's preparation in successfully defending the World Cup in South Africa in 2003, when they based themselves away from the main cricket centres during the tournament.

"We got away from everyone and everything and just went about our business. That's the way I want to look at doing things this time as well," he said.

Ponting hoped all of England's Test stars were fit for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on November 23, predicting Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones would overcome injury concerns in the next four months.

"It's a long time to get over any sort of injury," he said. "I'm pretty sure they'll want all those three guys out here if they can get them here, so that's the way I'm looking at it.

"I'd love to play exactly the same team again, if that was possible. Our team will be fairly similar as well I think, just looking at the way things are going at the moment.

"We want to play against the best England team that we can. We feel that we've got things really going in the right direction at the moment. If you look at what they've been doing you'd probably say they'd be the opposite.

"But as we all know an Ashes series will bring the best out in both teams."

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