Australia is still number one: Ponting

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Australia’s cricketers are keen to face a World XI next month so they can prove they deserve to retain their number one ranking after the Ashes defeat in England, captain Ricky Ponting said.

Ponting said team members felt they had a point to prove after fierce criticism in Australia following the 2-1 series defeat that handed England the Ashes for the first time in 16 years.
Despite the defeat, Australia remain atop the International Cricket Council World rankings and Ponting said the Super Series was a chance to prove the critics wrong and demonstrate the team’s credentials.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. We’ve known about it for a long time and after, I guess, the disappointment of the Ashes tour for us, this is our next chance to prove to ourselves and prove to everybody that we’re a very good team,” he said.

“Let’s not forget we’re the No.1 ranked side for a reason. Our performances over a long period of time have ensured we were No.1 and still are No.1.”

Ponting also backed beleaguered Australian coach John Buchanan, whose contract expires next month.

“I’ll always support John, I think he’s been tremendous with what he’s done for the Australian cricket team and sometimes undervalued,” said Ponting.

However, Ponting said it might be time for Australia to employ specialist batting and bowling coaches. “I think that’s the way the game is going,” he said.

Ponting agreed with World XI coach John Wright’s assessment that forging team spirit among the superstars of the invitational squad would be a crucial factor in the Super Series.

“That might be one of the slight advantages we do have over this team who haven’t been together and played as a group yet,” he said.