Ricky Ponting has admitted that Australia will have to start taking Twenty20 more seriously with the ICC showing every intention of introducing a World Championship in the shortened form. In the early days of Twenty20 on the international stage Australia have tended to treat the matches as a light-hearted affair and with mixed results.
They have convincingly beaten New Zealand and South Africa, but came unstuck against England in dramatic style, at the Rose Bowl, to launch their Ashes tour in 2005. Ponting has held the belief that Twenty20 matches should only be used at domestic level and, at a push, to start a tour and attract interest. However, with the ICC due to bring an international tournament a step closer, at their meeting in Dubai next month, Ponting realises a change of approach may be needed.
"My position hasn't changed, but it might have to change a little bit as we go on," he told The Age ahead of Australia's Twenty20 clash with South Africa at Johannesburg. "If we're going to be playing more and more of it, we're going to have to look at starting to take the game a bit more seriously.
"The way that it has been used ... to promote the [Test and one-day] series, I think it's been used well that way. But now with this world championship on, we're going to have to look at it."
Ponting has previously said that if Twenty20 is overused the attraction will disappear, but the current evidence is that people will continue to flock into the grounds. "If we play it more internationally will it fade? I'm not sure. But everything so far would seem to indicate that it's going to be pretty strong. Even the game we played in Australia they had a full house in Brisbane - 40,000-odd people.
"I still think that might be because of the novelty factor; people want to go and have a look at it first time around. But the flipside ... is that everyone we spoke to that was there that night had a great day. Maybe there is a long-term future for it."