Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ponting hopeful to play series against India in right spirit

Australian captain Ricky Ponting said Sunday he was hopeful next month's four-Test cricket series with India will be played in the right spirit.

The 15-man Australian squad left here late Sunday with only four players armed with Test match experience in India.

The nations were embroiled in an acrimonious series in Australia this year with Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh banned for three matches for allegedly racially abusing Australian allrounder Andrew Symonds during the second Test in Sydney in January.

The suspension was later overturned following an appeal hearing, but the relations between the two sides deteriorated as senior Australian batsman Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan an "obnoxious weed" on radio during the subsequent one-day series.

Ponting said a number of major issues would be discussed by the teams during the traditional pre-series referees meeting and he was hopeful next month's matches would be played in the right spirit.

"Hopefully, this is another great series played in the right spirit."

Ponting said although he had security concerns on his mind in the wake of a suicide attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed 53 people and wounded 266 in neighbouring Pakistan, he expressed no reservations about security issues in India.

But Ponting admitted security was on his mind as he said farewell to his wife and baby daughter.

Ponting said he was determined to address his own poor record in India, having scored only one 50 in 14 Test innings there and averaging just 12 as opposed to his career mark of 58.

Ponting said the series represented a great challenge for Australia's cricketers.

Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said substantial planning had gone into the Indian series.

Australia's opening Test against India starts in Bangalore on October 9.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar

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