India, South Africa outstanding teams: Ponting

Friday, February 11, 2011

BANGALORE - Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting said Friday that India and South Africa were “outstanding teams” but his side too had the momentum with it to go for its fourth consecutive World Cup title.

He played down talk of Australia not being the favourites to win the 2011 edition beginning Feb 19.

“I don’t care,” Ponting told reporters ahead of the team’s practice here, two days before the warm-up match against India.

He said it was “totally irrelevant” whether they start as favorites or not.

“It is totally irrelevant. Yes, we are ranked number one but we won’t be thinking about that.”

He also did not agree with several predictions that India or South Africa were favourites to lift the Cup.

“I am not sure if there is a really hot favourite going into a tournament like this,” Ponting said.

He, however, acknowledged that India and South Africa were “probably two of the outstanding teams”.

Ponting said the recent One-day series win against England, though after a drubbing in the Ashes, had given the Australians “confidence”.

There was “a bit of momentum around our team”, after the 6-1 win against England in the ODI series, he said.

“The lead-up couldn’t be much better coming into this World Cup, having just beaten a pretty good English side,” even though some senior players not taking part, he said.

Ponting, who did not play in the one-day matches against England due to a finger injury, said he was hopeful of playing in the warm-up game against India here Sunday.

The skipper said he has to focus on his batting and fielding as he was out of the game for about month due to the injury.

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