Ricky Ponting believes a Chappell-Hadlee Trophy win in New Zealand next week could give Australia the momentum they need a month out from the World Cup. Ponting said his side's CB Series loss against England would be put to the back of their minds should they perform better in New Zealand.
But the team will need to do so without Ponting, who is resting his sore back, and Adam Gilchrist, who is taking a much-needed break after playing every match of the CB Series. The leadership responsibilities will fall on Michael Hussey, the acting captain, and Michael Clarke, who was named vice-captain for the three-game tour.
"It would've been nice to win this series, but if we win in New Zealand, that'd be great, that'd give us a bit of momentum," Ponting told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We've got a bit of time from now to when the World Cup starts to get things back on track.
"We've got to do a bit of talking, have a bit of a discussion on the areas that we've fallen over in, and make sure we get those right because it's been pretty ordinary cricket. We can't afford to be making those mistakes in a World Cup.
"I think the guys will win in New Zealand, without me and without Gilly. Adam will make the most of his break, I've got a bit of work to do on my back to make sure I'm right for the World Cup. We've got to be as good as we can be if we think we're going to be a chance of going anywhere near making the semi-finals or the final. Going on the way we've played in the last couple of games, we've got a bit of work to do."
Ponting denied his team had been training too hard and therefore entered the finals flat and having peaked already. "Our hardest training session of the year was the lead-up to the Adelaide game against England," he said. "We bowled them out for 110 and got the runs in 20 overs. I'd like to think this team trains hard all the time.
"We've done a little bit extra this time looking forward to the World Cup. It's professional sport and you've got to learn to carry little niggles and be tired every now and then through games. When the World Cup comes around, we won't be loading ourselves up [with training] before any of the big contests in that series."