Follow Roy's example, Ponting tells team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Follow Roy's example, Ponting tells team

By Greg Buckle 12/03/2007 06:47:57 PM Comments (0)

Ricky Ponting has challenged his many World Cup debutants to follow Andrew Symonds' example by seizing the big moment to stamp themselves on international cricket.

While Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist are seeking a third consecutive World Cup title, nine of the 15-man Australian squad are at cricket's showpiece tournament for the first time.

Captain Ponting is holding up the example of Symonds as he looks to that group - which includes pace bowlers Shaun Tait, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken and Mitchell Johnson and all-rounder Shane Watson - to step up in Australia's campaign which opens on Wednesday against Scotland in Basseterre, St Kitts.

Richly talented allrounder Symonds was considered an under-achiever until he arrived at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and blasted 143 not out off 123 balls against Pakistan to set up Australia's opening match win and he has scarcely looked back since.

"Let's hope if the senior guys can get their jobs done some of the younger guys will stand up and make a name for themselves as well," Ponting told a press conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

"For some (the World Cup) could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in.

"I have been lucky, this is my fourth, so I know what it's like to win a World Cup.

"For some of the younger members of the squad it is an opportunity to stamp themselves on the international game.

"This is the stage upon which Andrew Symonds launched himself four years ago. It's a very special event to us and we would like to think we are as equipped as anybody else to win this time around."

One player well placed to become the new man of the moment is explosive young quick Shaun Tait, looking to fill the gap left by the injured Brett Lee.

Tait, 24, has just four one-day internationals to his name but was in dynamite form in Friday's warm-up match, tearing through England for 197 all out at St Vincent.

"The other day Shaun Tait stepped up in the practice game against England and took 4-33 and with the way he bowls, these conditions will be able to help him out at different times so hopefully he can step into Brett's shoes," Ponting said.

"There will be a good opportunity for Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark and those guys to put their hand up as well in Brett's absence.

"I think the beauty of our squad at the moment is our flexibility."

The solid form of Clark (3-16) against England leaves the tall right-armer in a strong position to claim a place in the side to play Scotland over Queensland left-armer Johnson, who took 0-20 from his two overs against England and did not get another crack.

Both, however, could miss out if chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch opts to play left-arm wrist-spinner Brad Hogg, whose control in taking 2-28 on Friday drew strong praise from Ponting.

Meanwhile, Symonds will attempt to get through a week of full-scale training including intensive fielding sessions as he tries to prove his fitness for Australia's upcoming Group A games against the Netherlands on March 18 and South Africa six days later.

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