Ponting starts preparations for World Cup
Sydney: Australia captain Ricky Ponting has started his preparations for the upcoming World Cup after being on the sidelines for nearly a month due to a broken finger.
Ponting is still feeling pain but insisted yesterday that he was on track to lead Australia`s defence of the World Cup later this month.
The captain batted in the nets for the first time in four weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured little finger but did not face the fast bowlers.
Ponting faced a series of throw-downs from batting coach Justin Langer and emerged drenched in sweat after the session.
"I`m not too bad, probably better than expected to tell you the truth. It`s the first time I`ve hit any balls for close to a month," he said.
"I started off with soft balls and plastic balls to get the feel of the bat back in my hand again, and the only ones that hurt a lot were where the bat was twisting in my hand a bit. But I`m pretty happy with how the day went," Ponting was quoted as saying by `Sydney Morning Herald`.
Ponting doesn`t see himself playing in the last two matches of the ongoing ODI series against England but harbours hopes of being fit to play in one of Australia`s two practice games on the subcontinent ahead of the side`s opening World Cup match, against Zimbabwe on February 21.
"I think Perth is unlikely. Today was my first hit, and I don`t think Don Bradman could go into a game having a month off with only one or two training sessions under his belt," Ponting said.
"I think I`m going to have that (pain) for a while to tell you the truth," Ponting said.
"I don`t think it`s going to be one of those things that goes away altogether."
Injury has been a cause for worry for the Australians with Shaun Marsh being the latest casualty.
Considered the likely replacement for Ponting, Marsh was yesterday ruled out of the final two matches of the one-day series against England.
Scans yesterday revealed that Marsh, who has played the last four matches against England after replacing Michael Hussey, received a “low grade" right hamstring injury while batting at the Gabba on Sunday.