Aussies ready for World Cup
Ricky Ponting believes Australia’s ICC Champions Trophy experiences will stand them in good stead for next year’s World Cup.
The Aussies bounced back from an opening defeat against West Indies to see off England and hosts India and progress to the semi-finals.
Captain Ponting expects to be leading a similar side into next March’s tournament in the Caribbean.
After his team beat India to clinch a last-four tie against New Zealand, he said: "I think the make-up of our team at the moment is pretty close to what it will be for the World Cup.
"I don't see there's going to be many, if any, changes to our squad.
“The squad is looking really good. We've got lots of flexibility, we've got lots of experience and a little bit of youth around, which is obviously important going into World Cups.
“But the World Cup is a long way off yet, and lots of things can happen."
Australia’s latest win was comfortable in the end, by six wickets against their hosts in Mohali.
Having restricted India's formidable batting line-up to 249 for eight on a good batting wicket, Australia raced to 101 for one in only 14 overs.
They eventually reached their total with 4.2 overs to spare, Damien Martyn unbeaten on 73 after becoming the third batsman in Australia's top four to score a half-century.
Ponting had words of encouragement for all-rounder Shane Watson, who is fulfilling the role of opener in the current line-up.
Watson made his first telling contribution of the tournament at the top of the order with a half-century, before going lbw to the spin of Dinesh Mongia.
Watson also contributed a wicket, and Ponting said: “There's been glimpses in every game Watto's played that he's got everything required to be a good one-day opener, and his bowling in the last eight or 10 games has been outstanding."
India captain Rahul Dravid refused to be too critical of his team, despite the result meaning they have now been eliminated from the tournament.
Their pace attack took some punishment - with Munaf Patel going at more than seven runs per over, Irfan Pathan six and Sri Sreesanth at 5.37.
Dravid has nonetheless seen enough to be encouraged for the future, saying: "The bowlers had one bad day, but I won't be too harsh on them. They are young and inexperienced and are working hard to improve.
“I am impressed with our bowling in the last few months, and there is no reason to complain. There is lot of potential in the young seamers, and I hope they will come good."
Dravid believes his side are in a good position to progress but singled out fielding as an area in need of some attention.
He said: “We have learnt a few lessons. There are areas we can improve in. The defeat here is a setback, but it gives us an opportunity to review where we stand.
“We need to look at our fielding on big grounds.”