Ponting to have surgery on injured finger

Updated: Jan 03, 2011, 18:45 PM IST

Sydney: Australia captain Ricky Ponting will have surgery on his injured finger on Tuesday in a bid to be fit for the World Cup next month and to prolong his test career.

A Cricket Australia spokesman on Monday said Ponting, who is missing the ongoing fifth Ashes test against England in Sydney, would undergo surgery on the little finger of his left hand because it was “just decided that surgery is the best option for his recovery.”

Ponting hurt the finger attempting a slips catch in Australia’s win over England in the third Ashes test at Perth last month.

He played the fourth test in Melbourne, but didn’t bat with comfort and was ruled out of the fifth and last match. England has a 2-1 series lead, ensuring it will retain the Ashes.

The 36-year-old Ponting wants to continue playing test cricket for as long as possible, but his immediate aim is to be fit to lead Australia’s bid for a fourth consecutive World Cup title in the 50-over format. The tournament will be hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starting next month.

“I want to keep playing, I’ve made that pretty clear not only this week but right through the summer,” Ponting said after being ruled out of the fifth test and the limited-overs series against England. “I think I’ve got a lot to offer as a player and as the captain of the Australian team and I want to continue to do that.”

“But with a World Cup around the corner I want to be the best player and leader I can through that tournament. And I want to play Test cricket post-World Cup as well, so that’s what’s in the future for me.”

Michael Clarke is leading the Australian team in the absence of Ponting, who is expected to be fit for Australia’s World Cup warmup matches against India on February 13 and South Africa on February 15 in Bangalore, India.