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World Cup 2011

Injured Ponting gets through net session

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 2, 2011

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Ricky Ponting at Australia's training session, Melbourne, December 23, 2010
Ricky Ponting's finger has been troubling him since the Perth Test © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ricky Ponting
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Australia

Ricky Ponting is hopeful he will be fit for Australia's practice games at the World Cup, after he batted in the nets for the first time since having surgery on his little finger. Ponting took throw-downs from Australia's batting coach Justin Langer at the SCG on Tuesday and reported no major trouble with his finger.

"I'm not too bad, probably better than expected, to tell you the truth," Ponting told the Daily Telegraph. "I started off with soft balls and plastic balls to get the feel of the bat back in my hand again, and the only ones that hurt a lot were where the bat was twisting in my hand a bit. But I'm pretty happy with how the day went."

Ponting suffered the break to the little finger on his left hand during the Perth Ashes Test and he also played the next game at the MCG, where he aggravated the problem. He sat out of the Sydney match - the first Test he had missed since 2004 - and had an operation, with the aim of ensuring he could lead Australia's World Cup defence.

The team flies out to India next week and the first warm-up match is against India in Bangalore on February 13, before a final practice game against South Africa two days later. Those outings are likely to mark Ponting's return, and he said there was no chance he would risk a comeback in the last ODI against England at the WACA on Sunday.

"I think Perth is unlikely," he said. "Today was my first hit, and I don't think Don Bradman could go into a game having a month off with only one or two training sessions under his belt. I'll keep progressing slowly. There's no great rush. I don't want to be silly about it and hurt it. I'll do what the physio allows me to do the next couple of weeks. The practice games are realistic for me if things keep progressing well."

Ponting is one of several batsmen in the Australian camp to have injury concerns, with Michael Hussey's chances of reaching the World Cup still unclear after he had surgery on a serious hamstring injury. The likely replacement if Hussey is unavailable would be Shaun Marsh, although he is also battling a hamstring problem.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

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