Ponting backs McGrath to make seamless return

Published: Monday, September 11, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Australia captain Ricky Ponting expects experienced fast bowler Glenn McGrath to produce the goods when the world champions take on West Indies and India in the tri-series.

McGrath, who took time off from cricket in January to care for his ill wife, returns to Australia's line-up for their first match against West Indies tomorrow at the new Kinrara Oval.

''I'm looking forward to Glenn playing again,'' Ponting told reporters today.

''He's really keen to get involved and has been working very hard in the off-season to get himself right for this series, and sort of a build-up for the Champions Trophy.

''I've got the highest expectations of Glenn coming back. He's a been such a great bowler for such a long period of time, he'll just slot right back in and do the job for us.'' McGrath, 36, has played 221 one-day internationals, taking 331 wickets at an average of 22.43.

Australia, who have not played international cricket for more than four months, have brought a squad of 18 to Malaysia, hoping to give all the players a chance to stake their claims for next year's World Cup.

''We hope to have a lot of positives by bringing a large squad,'' Ponting said. ''Hopefully, we can use guys in situations in games to be able to experiment within themselves.'' West Indies are hoping to build on their 4-1 victory over India in the one-day series in the Caribbean in May.

Vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan said the performances against India prove that West Indies can be a strong force in one-day internationals.

''We will be the first to admit that we have been inconsistent but we are starting to play some good cricket in the one-day form and we need to build on the series victory over India,'' said Sarwan.

''We have been trying to stick to a core group of players and not do too much chopping and changing.'' This is the first time the newly built Kinrara Oval is hosting a top-level international match. Organisers hurriedly put up floodlights in four weeks so that the ground would be ready to accommodate day-night matches.

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