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Cricket: Australia to go all out for 4th consecutive World Cup title

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Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting addressing a press conference in Bangalore on February 11, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting addressing a press conference in Bangalore on February 11, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Four-time winner Australia will go all out to lift the World Cup for the fourth time in a row in the 2011 edition of the event to be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19 to April 2.

The once invincible Aussies had won the cup in 1999, 2003, and 2007 in a row. They had also won the Cup in 1987.

However, the world number one team is not underestimating other teams in the fray.

Skipper Ricky Ponting said "there is good cricket in store. We have a record in one-day internationals and have played well. At the same time, we cannot underestimate other teams since they are also preparing well and they are good teams as well."

"Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand and South Africa have been performing well in the recent tournaments," he said.

Replying to a question, Ponting said, "whatever happened in the last world cup or recent tournaments, it is only the past...it does not matter what happened earlier, this time we are here to give our best."

He said last year the calendar was busy, however, it had helped the team to prepare for the World Cup.

About pitch condition he expected in the sub-continent venues, he said "it may be slow in some pitches but the team is prepared and has a number of good pace bowlers. Performance of the middle order may be crucial and bowlers should execute well. Slow bowlers play a vital role in the sub-continent...we have good pace bowlers."

About the pressure on the team he said "in any international match there will be pressure...whether it is cricket or golf."

When asked whether he was still keen to play in his 5th World Cup, Ponting said, "Yes, the hunger is there to be part of the World Cup."

On weather condition in the sub-continent venues, he said, "as an international team we have to adjust to all kinds of weather. May be the first ten overs there would be difficult but we can get accustomed."

About injury causing concern to the team, Ponting said "it is unfortunate... but you cannot avoid injury in any game."

Ponting agreed that Mike Hussey's absence would hurt the side. However, he said, his brother David Hussey could be the perfect replacement. "He has been performing well," he added.

"The absence of good players in the team like Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey and Matthew Hayden may be a loss but it does not affect the performance and it was proved in the recent series against England. The last few results were really satisfying against a pretty good English team," he said.

Replying to a question, Pointing said, "it may be Sachin's (Tendulkar) and my last World Cup."

When asked about his finger injury, which he sustained during South African tour, Ponting said it had healed and, with one week still left to go for the tournament to begin, he was confident of full recovery. He would be playing in the practice matches before the World Cup began.

Ponting, who had broken his finger and was out of ODI matches for more than one month, said he was feeling better and playing in practice matches as well.

The Australian team which arrived here yesterday was scheduled to go for practice today and will be playing against hosts India in their first warm-up match on February 13 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

NNN

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