Ricky Ponting

Ponting, Smith spar ahead of competitive series

Ponting says pressure will be on ProteasJohannesburg, Feb. 18 : Captains of Australia and South Africa -- Ricky Ponting and Graeme Smith - are leaving no stone unturned in upping the ante through mind games ahead of what promises to be a competitive Test series on South African soil.

While Ponting has said that his side and he are not in South Africa to pass on the baton of World Champions to South Africa, Smith as rubbished his Australian counterparts claims of his side being under pressure to retain the tag of favourites to win in the wake of the Proteas series victory in Australia.

Series win more important than ICC Test Championship trophy: Ponting

Ricky PontingMelbourne, Feb 17 : Australian skipper Ricky Ponting on his arrival in South Africa said that the ICC Test Championship trophy is important, but the team will play to win matches for country.

Ponting faced a packed media conference at Johannesburg Airport, and was quickly on the front foot with the South African media, the Herald Sun reported.

Australia lost 2-1 at home to South Africa in January and must now avoid defeat in the three-Test return series to retain the ICC Test Championship trophy.

Spinner McGain could make the difference, says Ponting on arrival in S. Africa

Spinner McGain could make the difference, says Ponting on arrival in S. AfricaJohannesburg (South Africa), Feb. 17: Australian cricket skipper Ricky Ponting believes that leg-spinner Bryce McGain could make the difference between Australia winning or losing the forthcoming series to South Africa.

Ponting has a plan to neutralise Proteas star bat Duminy

Ponting has a plan to neutralise Proteas star bat DuminyJohannesburg, Feb. 17: Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has revealed that he has developed a plan to counter the dominance of South Africa's young star batsman J. P. Duminy.

"He (Duminy) was probably the pick of their batsmen for the entire summer, and we''ve had a good opportunity to look at him for a long period of time. We''ve got some things up our sleeve, which we will hopefully be able to execute well if we get the opportunity. We''ll see how he reacts and responds to what he has in store," warned Ponting.

Ponting says pressure will be on Proteas

Ponting says pressure will be on ProteasSydney, Feb. 16 : The Australian cricket team flew to South Africa today with captain Ricky Ponting claiming that the South Africans would be under more pressure than his side.

Ponting wasted no time in trying to turn pressure on to the hosts before the three-Test series that will determine the official No. 1 team in the Test rankings.

"There won''t be any added pressure on us, maybe on South Africa with that at the back of their minds," he said at Sydney airport.

Haddin steps in to lead, gives Punter and Clarke a rest

Ricky Ponting and Michael ClarkeSydney, Feb. 15 : Australian wicketkeeper batsman Brad Haddin will lead the national team for the first time today in the absence of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

With the squad leaving for South Africa on Monday, the Australian selectors have told Ponting to take a break, while his deputy Clarke is recovering from an injury to his back.

"It''s probably come about in the same way that me opening the batting has come about - with blokes being rested or injured," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Haddin as saying on Saturday.