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World Cup 2011

India will be hard to beat - Ponting

Daniel Brettig

March 27, 2011

Comments: 80 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting denies reports that he is retiring, World Cup, Ahmedabad, March 23, 2011
Ricky Ponting has backed India as the likely winners of the World Cup © AFP
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Though Sri Lanka and Pakistan could argue over which nation enjoyed the most gilted path to the World Cup semi-finals, their wide margins of victory have not dissuaded Australia captain Ricky Ponting from regarding India as the tournament's most likely winner.

Arriving home from the least successful Cup campaign of his long career - having either won the tournament or made the final on every other occasion - Ponting reckoned MS Dhoni's team had the batting power to surmount all remaining opposition. An obstinate Ponting summoned all his reserves of concentration to fashion a century in his side's quarter-final against India in Motera, only to see a fair total reeled in without undue difficulty by the cultured blade of Yuvraj Singh.

"India are going to be hard to beat," he told reporters in Sydney. "They are a very powerful team, there's no doubt about that, their bowling probably hasn't quite hit its straps as much as they would like yet, but their batting is very good.

"No surprise Sri Lanka today, everyone probably picked that, although the margin is quite surprising and I think they are going to be right in it now. I think Sri Lanka will beat New Zealand and I think India will beat Pakistan and if it ends up being an India Sri Lanka final it will be a great game of cricket."

Australia's return home from the subcontinent called for plenty of difficult questions about the composition of the Cup squad and the conduct of the campaign, but Ponting mounted a staunch defence on both counts. Of the squad, he argued injuries had pushed the national selectors into a pace-oriented corner, something that had worked on simililary slow pitches in the Caribbean four years ago.

"As we know before we left with Nathan Hauritz going down and Xavier Doherty going down as well we didn't have any other spinning options we could take away with us," Ponting said. "Shaun Tait was one of our trump cards in the last World Cup in fairly similar conditions to what we faced in this World Cup and Brett [Lee] was the pick of our bowlers through the [limited overs portion of] summer.

"Mitch [Johnson] has that real x-factor about him that you need in tournaments as such as a World Cup. We had who we had in terms of who we could pick. If you look at the other teams that are left in the tournament now they are probably doing it a slightly different way to what we did. A lot of them are only playing their two quicks and having more spinning options but unfortunately for us we never had that luxury when we left."

As for his run-ins with a Motera television set and young allrounder Steve Smith in Bangalore, Ponting was equal parts bemused and indignant. "One happened inside the supposed sanctity of the change rooms which was a totally accidental thing that happened in there," he said. "As I said I regretted the damage that was caused at the time but absolutely didn't mean it whatsoever.

"I think the second one is something that has been blown completely out of all proportion: me having an on-field spat with one of my team mates couldn't be any further from the truth. I mean I didn't even look in his direction, so I am not sure where that actually came from or how big a deal it actually turned into back here in Australia, but it just seemed every day I had to wake up and answer different questions about being frustrated about being over there and about what the team was doing or what I was doing but it certainly wasn't that.

"I was over there enjoying the World Cup for what it was and trying to get the best performances out of the team every day."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 80 
Posted by AlBaqr786 on (March 30, 2011, 17:41 GMT)

Inshallah pakistan will win onlee

Posted by   on (March 30, 2011, 3:09 GMT)

i heard ponting quit as captain..Salute,great captain,nevertheless!

Posted by manjoo07 on (March 30, 2011, 2:46 GMT)

@ MaruthuDelft record says who is best batsman Sachin has proved it, Ponting has better things to learn from sachin..

Posted by   on (March 29, 2011, 10:56 GMT)

probably should be called the ten or eight nations cup instead of world cup.... then have associate/affiliate nations with uncapped/domestic players from the other top eight/ten nations playing in a world cup... then might be better matched.... and include a lot more nations... probably is will anyone watch, and if there's no money in it, it won't happen

Posted by Happy_AusBang on (March 29, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

Last time when an ex-Australian captain (Steve Waugh) made such a statement (India would win easily) Pakistan won 1-0. In truth it would have to be a very brave person or a fanatic to predict the outcome of Ind-Pak match regardless of the state of each team or the form of their players. I, for one, will sit on the fence as far as predicting the winner is concerned and console myself that whatever the outcome of this match it is almost (75%) certain now that the World Cup is headed to the sub-continent and that makes me proud.

Posted by   on (March 29, 2011, 3:36 GMT)

GOOD LUCK INDIA..YUVARAJ HATS-OFF TO YOU..INDIA NEED ANOTHER GOOD SIMMER TO SUPPORT ZAHEER..

Posted by ramchandru on (March 29, 2011, 0:27 GMT)

Hi Wachucha India never lose easily against south africa. But pakisthan surrender to newzland very easily in leque match. Only India and Srilanka give tough to oppenents. So both play in final match. After 2007 India never lose Odi series against Srilanka in Inida. But srilanka lost lot of times against India in Srilanka even without likes of sahcin, Shewak, Gambir, Zaheer. Match is played in Mumbai so India is favaourite in series now

Posted by   on (March 29, 2011, 0:18 GMT)

WITHOUT a doubt. BATTING depth and bowling variety and home advantage and Z KHAN

Posted by ramchandru on (March 29, 2011, 0:09 GMT)

As per my view India: 40% chance Srilanka: 30% chance Pakisthan: 20% chance Newzland : 10% chance

India can easily play against gul, akthar, afridi etc. Pakisthan can't play well against nehra, zaheer, harbajan etc. India already won lot of time against srilanka after 2007 with out sachin, shewak, gambir, zaheer. Srilanka can't win odi series in india after 2007. Final match is played in mumbai

Posted by ammarh on (March 28, 2011, 22:26 GMT)

I don't think Pakistan batting is good enough. Pakistan does't have any chance unless Afridi breaks his own record ( 37 balls century), Gul takes 5 for less then 40 or Umar akmal makes 150 odd. I wish one of these things happen and Pakistan win.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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