Australia want to beat full-strength England: Ponting
Australia captain Ricky Ponting says he wants all England's leading players
to be fit for the Ashes series starting later this year.
England have been
decimated by injuries since beating Australia last year for the first time
since 1987, with captain Michael Vaughan, all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and
fast bowler Simon Jones among players suffering serious problems.
"We want to play
against the best England team that we can," Ponting told reporters.
Ponting said he hoped
the likes of Flintoff, Vaughan and Jones all regained their fitness in time
for the five-match series starting in Brisbane on Nov. 23.
"It's a long time to
get over any sort of injury. I'm pretty sure they'll want all those three
guys out here if they can get them here, so that's the way I'm looking at
Australia have won 11
of their last 12 tests since losing the Ashes for the first time in 18
have not won a series since their memorable triumph over the Australians and
have been dogged by injuries, losing 2-1 in Pakistan before sharing series
in India and at home to Sri Lanka.
"We feel that we've
got things really going in the right direction at the moment," Ponting said.
"If you look at what they've been doing you'd probably say they'd be the
"But as we all know an
Ashes series will bring the best out in both teams." Ponting said it would
be difficult to ignore the pressure on Australia to regain the Ashes on home
soil, with tickets for the series selling at record-breaking pace when they
were released last month.
"The more sometimes
you build things up the harder it can be to perform," he said at the launch
of the TV coverage for the series.
"We'll make sure that
we're not treating it any differently or any more serious than any other
series we've played in." He disagreed with the view that players from the
two sides were too friendly during the 2-1 defeat in England, with national
selector Merv Hughes among those calling for a tougher approach.
"It's important you
play the game with a smile on your face. We play our best when we are
hard-nosed and aggressive and that's the way we have to approach it again.
"People talk about
(Shane) Warne and (Kevin) Pietersen (being friendly) but Warnie was trying
as hard as anybody and was as keen as anyone to get Pietersen out early on."