Ponting prepares to play through pain at World Cup

Updated: Feb 10, 2011, 09:15 AM IST

Sydney: Australia skipper Ricky Ponting is preparing to play through pain in his fifth World Cup but he does not think the hangover from his broken finger will hamper his performance.

Ponting, the tournament`s second most prolific batsman behind India`s Sachin Tendulkar and a three-times winner, has not played since fracturing the finger while fielding in the Ashes series in December.

"It`s a little bit sore, but I think it`s going to be a bit sore for a while," he told reporters at Sydney airport before the squad left for India on Wednesday evening.

"But it certainly hasn`t hindered me in the nets last week, which is a positive."

Ponting said there had been pain after the intensive net sessions but that he would probably wear a guard to protect it at the World Cup and would not take up his usual fielding position in the slips.

"If I`ve got pain, so what?" he added. "If it functions fine then it`s 100 percent, that`s how I`ve always looked at it. Most players play with some sort of pain at different times."

"There`s not many fast bowlers who can say they`ve played a game pain-free ... I`ll look at different ways of protecting it ... but I`m confident it won`t hinder me at all."

Ponting has scored 1,537 runs at an average of 48.03 in his four previous World Cups and is hoping to lead Australia to a fourth successive title in the Feb. 19-April 2 tournament, which is being hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Tasmanian said he wanted to take part in Australia`s two warm-up matches in Bangalore -- against India on Feb. 13 and South Africa two days later.

"I`ve been a long time out of cricket and I need to be playing both of them if I can, to make sure my game`s in order," he said.

Being out of the team for so long had been a trial, he said, but he had been encouraged by the 6-1 defeat of England in the one-day series that followed the Ashes debacle.

"We`re in good shape at the moment, we`ve just got to keep improving over the next few weeks and make sure at the "big end" of the World Cup that we`re improving from where we are now," he said.

"Looking at the last few results, I think they were very satisfying against a pretty good England team."

"The most inspiring thing about the last series for me was that when it looked like we were down and out and beaten, we found a way to win games."

"I think that`s been a trademark of very good Australian teams over a long period of time now."

Ponting said the loss of Mike Hussey, who was replaced in the squad by Callum Ferguson on Tuesday, was a setback although he was unable to shed any light on why the batsman had not been allowed more time to recover from a hamstring injury.

"I actually don`t know (why)," he said, adding: "He`s a massive loss to our group. Huss is a class player in all three forms of the game. A very experienced player, a leader around our group."

Bureau Report