No guarantees Ponting will play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No guarantees Ponting will play

By Will Swanton 21/10/2004 06:57:06 PM Comments (0)

Ricky Ponting normally goes hard with a bat in his hands, but next week he will be taking it softly, softly.

The Australian captain will arrive in India in the wee hours of Saturday still unsure about his availability for the fourth Test.

The doctors say his broken thumb is mending and he should be OK, but Ponting must wait until his first net sessions next week to discover whether he will be able to bat for the required amounts of time in the most demanding cricketing environment in the world.

Australian assistant coach Tim Nielsen said there were no guarantees Ponting would play the final match of the series at Mumbai from November 3.

"We don't want to risk re-injuring the finger again," said Nielsen.

"The worst thing we can do is go in too hard, too fast and have it broken or move the fracture again.

"We'll have to take a fair bit of medical advice from back home and obviously we need to see how he's going with it - whether it's sore or not sore, whether he can hold the bat. It'll all depend a little on how he is when he turns up.

"We need to see how it turns out once he starts hitting the cricket ball again. We'll try to get Rick ready to go if it's at all possible for the fourth Test match."

Nielsen said a player of Ponting's calibre would not take long to get used to India's slow and dusty pitches.

"It's more his ability to bat for long periods that is the problem," said the former South Australian wicketkeeper.

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