Symonds gets Ponting backing
Ricky Ponting has renewed his backing for Andrew Symonds ahead of the Australian Ashes squad being named.
Last Updated: 19/05/09 7:42am
Ricky Ponting has renewed his backing for controversial all-rounder Andrew Symonds ahead of the Australian Ashes squad being named on Wednesday.
Symonds has endured off-field problems and injury during the last year, leading to speculation he would miss out on the series.
But the 33-year-old received a boost last week when retaining his place in the list of centrally contracted players announced by Cricket Australia.
And Australian captain Ponting, a staunch supporter of Symonds over the years, has given his backing to the player once again.
"I wouldn't be surprised (if he's named)," he said of Symonds' selection hopes.
"He's had his share of battles over the last 12 months, obviously the well documented stuff off the field, and he's worked his way back into domestic cricket pretty well and played well for us over in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"He's a great guy to have around the team there's no doubt about that and obviously the selectors are going to have some tough decisions to make in the coming hours."
The skipper says he has not yet seen the full squad chosen by selectors Andrew Hilditch, David Boon and Merv Hughes, but stressed the importance of striking a balance between experience and youth.
He indicated pacemen Brett Lee and Stuart Clark are likely to win recalls after missing the Australian summer through injury.
"With Stuart Clark and Brett (Lee) more than likely coming back into our squad, (Ben) Hilfenhaus, (Peter) Siddle and (Mitchell) Johnson did an amazing job for us over in South Africa so there are going to be some tough calls to be made there somewhere - luckily I'm not a selector I guess," said Ponting, who also said he was uncertain whether selectors will opt to load the squad with extra batsmen or all-rounders.
"Having spoken to Andrew Hilditch a fair bit over the last couple of weeks, there were some tough calls to make around all-rounders and obviously around spinners as well," he said.
"Obviously the cards were laid on the table the other day with the spinners not getting contracted so that's one that's probably going to look after itself.
"Which ever way we go, whether it's all-rounders or spare batters - or specialist batters - we're going to have all bases covered.
"To tell the truth which ever way we go we'll have a very strong squad and ... spots (will be) up for grabs when we get over there."