We're ready for Ashes assault - Ponting
Ricky Ponting has expressed his satisfaction with the way Australia's Test and one-day teams were performing ahead of an important 12 months, that include the Ashes and the World Cup. On his return from a successful tour of Bangladesh, where Australia swept the hosts in both Tests and one-day internationals, Ponting said his side was heading "in the right direction for the start of the Ashes campaign".
"With both forms of the game, I'm really happy with the way things are going," Ponting told AAP. "We've got Damien Martyn back in the Test side again now, we've got that really steady looking batting line-up which I think will be very good against the English out here in our conditions. We believe that everything is sort of on course with Glenn [McGrath] at the moment and he's obviously very keen to play in the Ashes series. Stuart Clark is coming along beautifully, Brett [Lee] has had an amazing 12 or 18 months and Warney [Shane Warne] is bowling as well as ever, so our whole set-up is shaping up pretty well."
Ponting said that McGrath would be better off missing the Champions Trophy and suggested the veteran might be better served by getting some work in county cricket before the Australian summer.
Following the limited-overs tournament in India in October-November, Australia host England and then head to the West Indies for the World Cup. Ponting acknowledged that it was a busy schedule, but said his players would have ample time to mentally and physically refresh themselves over the next five months.
"Our preparation, if we do it well and do it properly, I think we should be as well prepared as we possibly can be for the first Test match in Brisbane," he said. "There's probably going to be opportunities for some players to get maybe three or four rounds of Pura Cup cricket under their belts before the first Test. Where we came undone through South Africa and Bangladesh was just by having two-day breaks, one of which is obviously a travel day and then you've got a training day and you're back into the rigours of a Test match. That happened with almost five consecutive Test matches."
Ponting added that Australia would potentially have a better preparation for the Ashes series than England, who play seven Tests against Sri Lanka and Pakistan before heading to Australia.