Ponting eyeing Ashes boost
Australian captain Ricky Ponting hopes the upcoming Ashes series can boost Test match cricket around the world.
Last Updated: 23/06/09 8:32am
Australian captain Ricky Ponting hopes the upcoming Ashes series in England can boost Test match cricket around the world.
The proliferation and popularity of shorter forms of cricket, particularly Twenty20, has led some to question the future of the traditional form of the game.
West Indies skipper Chris Gayle recently said he would not mourn if Test cricket ever died, an opinion described as "spot on" by Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait.
But Ponting has leapt to the defence of Test cricket, saying: "I've always viewed Test cricket as the ultimate form of our game and nothing's changed for me there.
"I'd be surprised if certainly any of the guys within this squad here that's just been picked would be saying anything different either.
"It is the pinnacle for us so we're just looking forward to getting over there and playing."
Ponting believes the 2005 Ashes series reinvigorated Test match cricket around the world and hopes the 2009 edition will have a similar effect again.
"I think we've done a great job over the years, the Australian cricket team, in making the Test game as enjoyable and as good a spectacle as it possibly can be," he said.
"I think to a certain degree the 2005 Ashes series that we played was something that really reinvigorated Test match cricket all around the world.
"With the excitement already around about this coming Ashes series hopefully it will have the same effect on the world game."
Ponting believes Tait may have been caught off guard when making his comments as he had just been omitted from the latest Australian contracted-players list, having been refused permission to play in the Indian Premier League on his return from injury.
"I think Shaun probably got caught at a pretty weak moment the other day, he was obviously disappointed with some of the things that had happened and was probably speaking that way as well," Ponting added.
"He might have just got caught off guard. Hopefully in the future he wants to play as much Test cricket as he can for Australia and if he has that desire and he gets his body in the best shape that he possibly can then there's definitely a future for him if he wants it."
Gayle made his comments after he had to cut short his spell in the IPL to play in the two-Test series against England.
While Ponting does not place too much stock in what the West Indies skipper had to say, he can understand where he is coming from.
"I saw the comments that Chris made last week," he said.
"I think probably the major reason for that is that series has been scheduled right in the middle of the IPL and Chris is obviously making the majority of his income from playing that six weeks of the IPL.
"The West Indian players themselves have been in a lot of contract talks and discussions with their cricket board for a long time and I don't think they've ever really got that right.
"I think there's a bit of annoyance from Chris' part that these things keep taking place. But at the end of the day I'm not really fussed what he's got to say."