Never mastered India: Ponting

Aussie skipper hopes to end to his poor run in the land of spin

Never mastered India: Ponting

“It’s a place I’ve never mastered,” Ponting said in a candid admission prior to Australia’s practice session here on Thursday. “I’ve never mastered batting in these conditions. I felt that in the last series here, I took some really big strides in becoming a better player in the sub-continent. My first hundred in Bangalore at the start of the last series was satisfying, and I made 80-odd in Delhi.

“There were some positive signs for me last time and learning a bit more about the conditions and the Indian bowlers gives me a chance to hopefully have a good series. One thing you can guarantee is that all of us will be very well prepared,” the Aussie skipper elaborated.

The second highest run-getter in Tests behind Sachin Tendulkar, Pointing is tipped as the one most likely, if anyone can, of smashing the Indian greats records. A suggestion that he was over the hill did amuse him. “I’m not sure I am headed that way just yet,” he laughed. “The fact is I’m 35 and I know there's been a bit in the papers over the past couple of days about maybe being a little bit past my best. We’ll see what this series holds, and what the Ashes holds. I know I’m feeling better about myself and about my game than I have in a long time,” noted Ponting.

Looking ahead to the series, Ponting said: “We know just how competitive a series it was over here last time. We’ve got a little bit more experience this time around. Our batting group is a bit like India's, pretty experienced. Most of us have played a fair bit here in the sub-continent. It’s not so much about revenge, it’s about us playing a brand of cricket over the next 10 days that’s going to be good enough for us to remain competitive and win both of these Test matches.”

While putting the Ashes rivalry ahead of Indo-Australia, the right-hander felt in international cricket at the moment, Australia had three major rivals.

“We have England, and there's always an added edge whenever we play an Ashes series. Then you have South Africa and there's India, who we've had some amazing battles with over the past five or six years. All those series are exceptionally entertaining to be part of as a player. I would still put the Ashes slightly above the other two,” he maintained.

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