England batting strength is poor: Ponting

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Ponting said that Swann, Broad and Strauss will be England’s key players.
Ricky Ponting doubts that England have the batting strength needed if they are to succeed against the Australians in this year’s Ashes.

“Kevin Pietersen, obviously, is a big question mark for them at the moment,” Ponting told UAE’s Radio 2. Alastair Cook is just holding on to his spot by the skin of his teeth, and Paul Collingwood has probably not had the best Test summer of his life either. So there is enough happening around there to know that they will be a little nervous when they arrive in Australia.”

Both Pietersen and Cook are under massive pressure to prove their worth and repay the selectors’ faith in them. Pietersen had averaged a poor 27.25 against Pakistan and has not been able to notch up a century for more than 18 months. Cook had some success against the Pakistanis as he scored a battling 110 at The Oval, but his spot is far from secure. Collingwood too is struggling with his batting having only mustered 5 or less in six of his last eight outings.

Ponting said that Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Andrew Strauss hold the key for the English side. “They have some good players in their side at the moment, who are playing well,” Ponting said. “Graeme Swann is probably the stand out. Stuart Broad, and probably their captain [Andrew Strauss], these have been the guys who have stood up for them over the last couple of years. But they have certainly been the more consistent team than any English team I have played against in the past.”

Ponting hoped that the OZ can repeat the 5-0 whitewash against the English “We all know how hard opposition teams find it coming to Australia, and particularly starting at the Gabba, they always find it a difficult place to win. So as an Australian, and an Australian captain, we are hoping for a very similar series to the last one.”

Ponting also reiterated that his hunger for runs and victories has not ended “There is no doubt about that. I mean, I would have not worked as hard as I have over the last eight weeks if the hunger wasn’t there,” he said. “I am as excited about the next period of cricket, with the Ashes and then the World Cup at the end of that, so that is about six or seven months of biggest cricket tournaments that you ever play.”

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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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