The Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, is rather keen on the exercise for his men. While the Ashes is still a small distant away, that the Australian team is a goal oriented lot is revealed ahead of the ODI series against England.
“Whenever there is a big series coming up the build-up starts a fair way out and for the Ashes it has already started.”
The Ashes 2009 defeat has not really left the minds of the Australian cricketers, a point Ponting only stressed, “It is probably on all of our minds a little bit. It is exciting for the game. There is nothing bigger as far as I am concerned than an Ashes series and, when it is in Australia as well and we need to win it back, it adds a little more to it.”
The Ashes preparation are in full swing, and Ponting is absolutely war like in mind about what is expected of his boys, “I am expecting the guys to be in exactly the same frame of mind as they were for the return bout last time. Pretty much from now until the Ashes are over and done with in the middle of January everything we do will have some sort of focus on the Ashes series. There will be no excuses for us come late November.”
While Ponting is aware that the Ashes come in the format of Test cricket but he feels that the ODI series will provide a good platform to spar as well as orient the team to the task at hand, “It is a great chance for guys to get exposure, like Doug Bollinger and even Cameron White. We have got to impose ourselves right from the start and gather some momentum for the series. Our guys have one-day experience and some of them are finding the one-dayers a good way to settle into international cricket. This series offers them a great chance. Sometimes the young guys try a little bit too hard when they first come into the side. I tell them to back themselves and find a way of adapting to international cricket. All Australian players love playing against England and I think we will see that over the next few weeks.”
Ponting was looking past the Ashes to the 2011 ICC World Cup and spoke of Australia’s preparations for the big game as the defendign champions, “We have had a really good run, winning World Cups and Champions Trophies and the next World Cup is not very far away, although we have got a lot of cricket to play between now and then. We have got a pretty good idea about how our squad will look at the World Cup. We have had a good run and there is a really good feeling around the group. We have got a very skilful group of players who can adapt to conditions well.”