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March 15, 2006
Kepler Wessels, the former Australia and South Africa batsman, says Ricky Ponting's bowling attack is one-dimensional and they must entice Shane Warne out of one-day retirement to retain the World Cup next year. Wessels said Ponting should be "very concerned" after they were thrashed for 9 for 438 at Johannesburg on Sunday and he believed the defeat would affect the start of the Test series.
"[Ponting] says he wants to forget about the one-day loss but it's as plain as day he's got a bowling problem," Wessels said in The Courier-Mail. "He's got a one-dimensional attack and he's got to do something about that. If I was Ponting I would desperately try to get Warne to play in the World Cup."
Ponting said after the fifth ODI it would have been nice to have been able to call on Warne, who said earlier this week he had "no interest" in ending his retirement, which began in 2003 and was interrupted only for last year's tsunami fundraising match. Warne has instead focussed on naming a bunny for the South Africa series and has again nominated Ashwell Prince.
"I feel pretty confident bowling to Ashwell Prince," Warne told the paper. "In Sydney I bowled only four or so overs on day one when he got a hundred." Prince has been dismissed nine times in six Tests by Warne and already tops his list of South African batsmen, one ahead of Hansie Cronje and five in front of Daryll Cullinan.
Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, said talk of Warne's bowling was now finished. "We don't really want to mention his name any more," Arthur told AFP after Warne said Graeme Smith had "made a fool of himself" on the tour of Australia. "He's come out and made statements again against Graeme. That's fine. He arrived here and probably wanted to be noticed. We're finished talking about Shane Warne. We've got Test matches to win and he's not going to bother us."
Warne, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer will return to the side to give it a lift after the one-day series, but Wessels said the 3-2 victory would help the home side in Thursday's first match at Cape Town. "From a psychological point of view," Wessels said, "it has been a massive boost for South Africa."
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