Australia captain Ricky Ponting is all set to play through pain in his fifth World Cup but he does not think his barely healed broken finger will mar his performance.
Ponting, the tournament's second most prolific batsman behind India's Sachin and a three-times champion, has not played since fracturing the finger while fielding in the Ashes series in Dec 2010.
"It's a little bit sore, but I think it's going to be a bit sore for a while," he told reporters at Sydney airport before the squad left for India on Wednesday evening. "But it certainly hasn't hindered me in the nets last week, which is a positive."
Ponting said there had been pain after the hectic net sessions but that he would probably wear a guard to protect the finger at the World Cup and would skip taking his usual fielding position in the slips. He rationalised the pain as an inevitable part of the game.
"If I've got pain, so what?" he added. "If it functions fine then it's 100 percent, that's how I've always looked at it. Most players play with some sort of pain at different times. There's not many fast bowlers who can say they've played a game pain-free ... I'll look at different ways of protecting it ... but I'm confident it won't hinder me at all."
Ponting has scored 1,537 runs at an average of 48.03 in his four previous World Cups and is hoping to lead his side to a fourth successive title in the Feb. 19-Apr 2 tournament, which is being hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Tasmanian said he very much wants to participate in Australia's two warm-up matches in Bangalore, against India on Feb. 13 and South Africa two days later, just so that he can get back into the swing of things. "I've been a long time out of cricket and I need to be playing both of them if I can, to make sure my game's in order," he said.
Being out of the team for so long had been a trial, he said, but he had been encouraged by the 6-1 defeat of England in the one-day series that followed the Ashes debacle.
"We're in good shape at the moment, we've just got to keep improving over the next few weeks and make sure at the "big end" of the World Cup that we're improving from where we are now. Looking at the last few results, I think they were very satisfying against a pretty good England team. The most inspiring thing about the last series for me was that when it looked like we were down and out and beaten, we found a way to win games."