Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Michael Hussey is confident Australia can spark up for the Champions Trophy

Michael Hussey is confident Australia can spark up for the Champions Trophy despite the short turnaround following their long tour of England. The Australians finished their one-day series against England in Durham on Sunday, losing the game but winning 6-1, and they resume training on Thursday ahead of their first match of the Champions Trophy.

Australia take on a weakened West Indies outfit at the Wanderers on Saturday and while the match shouldn't pose too many problems, Ricky Ponting has already aired his opinion that the England series was too long. But Hussey said a change of scenery would help to refresh the players.

"I guess it's new and exciting and all the best players around the world are here, so you spruce up a little bit no question," Hussey told AAP. "The one-dayers (against England) were good. I still think we've got a few areas we need to improve in if we're going to be right up there at the business end of this tournament. We've got to make sure we try to start a tournament well and try to get better and better each game."

Australia hold the Champions Trophy after winning it in India three years ago and they will need to finish in the top two in their group of West Indies, Pakistan and India to get to the semi-finals. Hussey said the Australians needed to concentrate largely on their own game.
"Although it's important to focus on what they're going to do and what they can do and their strengths and weaknesses, we've got to make sure we get our things right," he said. "I'd back us if we can get our things right, then we'll be pretty competitive with all teams around the world no matter who they are."

After arriving in Johannesburg, Ponting reiterated his thoughts on Australia's weariness after a four-month tour of England that began with the World Twenty20. He said any team was capable of progressing past the group stage.

"There are some tired bodies in our camp at the moment so we will have a rest today and start preparing tomorrow for our first match on Saturday," Ponting said. "The Champions Trophy is going to be a very tight tournament because there are some very good teams taking part and Sri Lanka have already caused a surprise [by beating South Africa]. I regard Sri Lanka as one of the top ODI teams and once they put on more than 300 runs it was always going to be hard work for South Africa."