It's not just another tournament, says Ponting

Australia carry form, confidence and momentum with them as they begin their defence of the Champions Trophy. Both Australia and England arrived in Johannesburg only on Tuesday, with little time to acclimatise before action begins. Australia’s first game is against the West Indies on Saturday while England start their campaign a day earlier, against Sri Lanka.

“This is certainly not just another tournament for us,” said Ricky Ponting, whose side ended its Champions Trophy drought in Mumbai three years back. “This is the second biggest tournament you can play as a group and country. A lot of the guys have been on the road for a long time but we've managed to keep ourselves in pretty good shape physically and technically. We will start to heat things up tomorrow in training and get acclimatised to playing at 7,000 feet. We've done everything in our power to be in as good shape as we can before this tournament.

“The mood in the camp for the last few months has been good. We didn’t get across the line in the Ashes, though we gave it our best. The mood and fun we had through the tour was special to be part of. We've enjoyed the last couple of weeks, winning, but we have to keep things in perspective and know that we weren't playing the best England side. The level of cricket through the last few one-dayers was particularly good, so it’s a matter of building on that,” he added.

 Andrew Strauss, whose summer went south after the remarkable Ashes triumph as things went horribly wrong in the one-day series, chose to seek solace in playing outside of England. “A change in environment can make a big difference,” the England captain observed. “We can put behind us the back end of the English summer and start looking forward. There is something quite exciting and intoxicating about world events, all the world’s best players in a hotel. “It’s not difficult to be energised by that. It’s not a long tournament, a bit of a sprint, and quite exciting to know that if you play well in three games, you're in the semifinal.”

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