Ponting backs injured Symonds for World Cup
Ricky Ponting has suggested that Australia take a chance on the injured Andrew Symonds and include him in the 15-man World Cup squad. Symonds is likely to be sidelined for a couple of months following a surgery on a ruptured bicep tendon in his right shoulder, but Ponting said he wanted Symonds in the line-up even if he might be ready to play only during the Super Eight stage.
"There's no reason why Andrew can't be named in our squad of 15 players and come with us and hopefully be right through the middle of the tournament," Ponting was quoted as saying by AFP. "He's a very important player in our team, he's a match-winning allrounder and would probably get picked in most world XI one-day sides, so we'll keep our fingers crossed and hope his recovery goes as well as possible."
The ICC's general manager, Dave Richardson, has said that Australia could include Symonds in their 15-man squad, which needs to be finalised by February 13. While Australia play their first game on March 14, the Super Eight stage starts only on March 27 and the plan would be to monitor Symonds' fitness ahead of those matches. There are concerns, though, that even if Symonds is fit to bat, the injury might hamper his ability to bowl and field.
Symonds had an outstanding World Cup in 2003, after being selected at the insistence of Ponting back then as well. He started off with a blistering unbeaten 143 against Pakistan, and finished the tournament with 326 runs at an average of 163.