We`ve not played great level of cricket: Ponting

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 17:37 PM IST

Bangalore: Australia have not quite played their best cricket so far in the World Cup, captain Ricky Ponting said on Saturday while promising to turn up the intensity as his team approaches the "business end" of the mega-event.

Set to take on minnows Kenya in a Group A clash here on Sunday, Ponting said the Aussies would look to improve upon what they have managed in the past three matches one of which was washed out.

"We have not played great level of cricket in this tournament. So, it is for us to (start playing great cricket) getting into the business end of the tournament. That means, we go out tomorrow and play our best game possible," Ponting said at the pre-match press conference.

Ponting said the best Australian XI would take the field on Sunday and no key player would be rested just because the opposition is Kenya. "We will not be resting. We have not rested for 16 days. We are really trying well. Obviously, we will be picking from the 15 and field the best team," Ponting said.

Asked whether senior batsman Michael Hussey, who joined the squad recently after coming in as replacement for pacer Doug Bollinger, would get a game tomorrow, Ponting said it would depend on his fitness levels.

"If Mike pulls up well today in the training session, there is a chance of his playing tomorrow. We are going to wait and see who pulls up today and then we will finalise our 11 for tomorrow`s game," he said.

The defending have played just three matches so far and Ponting said the long breaks between matches has given the players time to recover from minor niggles. "It gives you a chance to obviously prepare very well. I wish we are well prepared for the next two games which are coming after such a long gap. It gives our players time to sort out any niggles that they must have got from earlier matches," Ponting said.

"I guess when you play one-day cricket you would like to have continuity. Our playing one third of games during the last 16 days is a bit of unusual. I must say that our guys are looking forward to playing the game and produce good cricket,
I think," he added.

The World Cup has seen minnows make quite a mark with Ireland and Bangladesh managing to beat England but Ponting said the premiere event should not feature teams which cannot put up a competition consistently.

"There is a chance of upsets happening in the tournament. For me, I have not seen any new team that has come up in this tournament. From what I have seen, Ireland have improved their game a little bit. I believe that there should be a place for the best eight teams may be we have got a couple of too many now," he said.

"I do not understand the reason for other teams playing in. They are growing the game everywhere around the world and trying to give exposure to smaller cricketing countries at the highest test. I do not understand the reasons why. But, what I have always said was that any qualifier comes in, the team has to be competitive," he added.

But Ponting complimented Bangladesh for their fine show. "They are playing all their league matches at home and probably hoping to cause one or two upsets. Yesterday`s game was one and they missed probably the game against the West Indies. I must say that in their conditions they are very good team," he said.

Asked whether this World Cup is turning out to be the most exciting in a long time, Ponting said, "I have been quite bored during last couple of weeks. Of course, there has been some great games played and most of them are happening in the other pool. Generally, sub-continent brings up such games. There are guys who have played some great games. Hope, next couple of weeks will also see some more great games."

Ponting refused to take a shot at traditional rivals England`s poor form at the event. "If you look at the tournament, it has been exciting. They have played three matches and any game could have gone either way, I know. So, I am disappointed that they lost the game last night. And, the Ireland game was quite a remarkable game and so was the India game. I have seen their ups and downs in the tournament so far," he said.

PTI