Ponting to play in Tasmania`s Sheffield Shield opener

Sydney: Defending Sheffield Shield champions Tasmania will be bolstered by the presence of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting when they take on Western Australia in the season-opener next week.

Tasmanian captain George Bailey Saturday confirmed Ponting`s availability for the opening match and said his experience will be of great help to the team.

"It is not as daunting as I thought it would be," Bailey was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald. "He (Ponting) just loves playing cricket for the Tigers and with his experience it is very helpful."

Tasmania bagged their second Shield title in the last season with six consecutive wins.

With Tasmania having won two of the past four one-day titles as well as the Shield, Bailey said the current team represents a "golden age" for the state`s cricketers.

"I was just saying before it`s the strongest squad I think that Tasmania ever had. (There is) great depth and hopefully that bodes well for the whole season."

The four-day match will begin Tuesday.

Sheffield Shield sides:

Tasmania: George Bailey (captain), Luke Butterworth, Mark Cosgrove, Ed Cowan, Xavier Doherty, Alex Doolan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nick Kruger, James Faulkner, Adam Maher, Ricky Ponting, Tom Triffitt.

Western Australia : Marcus North (captain), Tom Beaton, Michael Beer, Travis Birt, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Matt Dixon, Marcus Harris, Michael Hogan, Mike Hussey, Michael Johnson, Mitchell Johnson, Wes Robinson, Adam Voges.


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