Ponting aiming to use India tour to prepare Oz ‘Generation Next’

Chandigarh: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and all-rounder Shane Watson have described the tour of India as an opportunity for the rookies to shape Australia’s future cricketing culture.

Australia’s squad for the two-Test tour of India includes youngsters Steven Smith, Phillip Hughes, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Peter George.

“One of the main things I’m enjoying about the captaincy at the moment is I feel I have a bit to do in shaping them as players and the culture they’ll bring to the team once we older blokes are gone,” an Australian daily quoted Ponting, as saying.

“It’s [about] legacy, absolutely. And it’s the way I learnt the game from Mark Taylor, David Boon, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne,” he added.

He further said that he was lucky to play in that era, and believes that it is important to carry on what he learnt from those great players.

“That’s what has made Australian cricket successful over the last few years. It’s one of my great challenges, and it’s one that I’ve enjoyed the most,” Ponting added.

Meanwhile, Watson said that he has enough experience to help the new breed cope with one of the most challenging tours.

“I wouldn’t take back the experiences I’ve been through my career because [without them] I wouldn’t be the person or the player I am. But I’d be very happy if no other player has to ever go through those kind of experiences,” Watson said.

“I’m enjoying being around the young players coming through, and seeing how excited they are and helping them as much as I possibly can because I have a lot to give.”

“I don’t take lightly the responsibility [of guiding the youngsters]. It’s not just myself, but also the more senior players in the team to stamp our style on the cricket we want to play and what we believe we can play as well,” he added.

The first Test will be played Mohali form October 1-5, while the second Test will be played in Bangalore from October 9-13.


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