Australia not as good as previous vintage – Ponting

LEEDS, England, (Reuters) – Australia are seeking an  eighth consecutive test victory this week but captain Ricky  Ponting said the current team would never compare with the more  illustrious sides he has played in.

“I don’t think there’s a team in the world that compares to  the team that was, five or six years ago, arguably the greatest  team that ever played the game,” Ponting told reporters at  Headingley yesterday while preparing for the second and final  test against Pakistan.

“So it’s no good trying to compare other teams to that  team.” Ponting, 35, has played in successful Australia sides since  his 1995 test debut, including one under Steve Waugh’s captaincy  which won a record 16 successive tests from 1999 to 2001.  Ponting also compiled a 16-match winning streak from 2005-2008,  when the current team began to form.

The 1999-2001 side included great players such as Shane  Warne, Glenn McGrath, Waugh and his twin brother Mark,  wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, Michael Slater, Matthew Hayden and  Brett Lee.


ALL-CONQUERING AURA

Although the current side made it seven wins in a row with a  150-run victory over Pakistan at Lord’s last week, they do not  have the same all-conquering aura as their predecessors.

“What I think we have around this group is a good balance  of youth and experience with (Steven) Smith and (Tim) Paine  coming in. And (Marcus) North and (Doug) Bollinger are still  quite new to test cricket,” Ponting said.

“Then when you look at our batting we have (Simon) Katich,  myself, (Mike) Hussey and (Michael) Clarke so we have got some  great experience on our side as well. That’s what you need for  big series.” The team’s match winners last week were Katich with innings  of 80 and 83, while Shane Watson and North for excelled with the  ball.

“I don’t ever look back on what the other teams did, I’m  just always looking forward day after day with this group of  players and finding ways how we can all improve ourselves.  That’s one of the great strengths of these guys that are in this  side,” added Ponting.

“They are never happy with what they have done and we are  not happy if we have won seven games in a row, we want to make  it eight this week. I want to keep challenging the guys and that  is what we will continue to do while I’m in charge.

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