ODI matches against Ireland, England vital for Oz World Cup preparations: Ponting

Sydney: The upcoming one-day international matches against Ireland and England will be vital in Australia`s preparations for the 2011 World Cup, skipper Ricky Ponting has said.

He said Australia will field their best available line-up against Ireland at Clontarf on Thursday before heading to England for a five-game series, starting next Tuesday.

Although the World Cup is still eight months away, the Australians have only 16 ODIs before they begin their title defence.

"That`s not a huge amount of cricket. A lot of our preparation starts a little bit further out than that. Every game that we play from here until then will have some sort of focus on it as far as the World Cup is concerned," Ponting said.

"We`ve got a bit of mixing and matching to do over the next couple of weeks as far to experiment with different teams and different line-ups," a newspaper quoted him, as saying.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen said he would not be looking at resting players. "With it being a one-day international we will be looking hard at playing our best side," he said.

"We`ll have a look at conditions, we`ll have a look at the wicket, but you can expect we`ll have close to our very best team.

"It doesn`t matter which mix of the 14 we put out, we are confident in their ability. We`ll put out our best side with an eye to the first one-day international against England in a few days time," Nielsen added.



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