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'India, even without Sachin, are dangerous'
- Australia are itching to get on to the park: Ponting
Ponting says taking a break is also part of Aussie training

Southampton: World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting didn't watch India's opening Champions Trophy game (versus Kenya) on Saturday, but believes Sourav Ganguly's side is 'dangerous.'

'Even without Sachin Tendulkar, the Indians are dangerous and, clearly, one of the top teams in the competition,' Ponting told The Telegraph on Sunday.

The Australians' own campaign gets underway on Monday, when they face rookies the USA, incidentally coached by Faoud Bacchus, best remembered for a double hundred in Kanpur under Alvin Kallicharan's captaincy in 1978-79.

Ponting, of course, insisted motivation wouldn't be a problem: 'It has never been and, tomorrow, you will find our intensity being the same... We're up for every match and motivation hasn't ever been an issue.'

Coach John Buchanan doesn't have a detailed dossier on the opposition, but he did drive over to London on Friday for what amounted to a 'spying' mission during the New Zealand-USA game.

Ponting, by the way, accepted sides like the USA are going to be better off by first competing regularly against teams which are on a par. 'It's only later that they could face the strongest around,' he said.

The Australians' preparations have been hit by rain ' the other day, a practice match was washed-out ' but Ponting felt that wouldn't actually make a difference.

'Because we haven't played much cricket in the past fortnight or so, everybody is itching to get on to the park... Hopefully, somebody will get a big hundred and somebody is going to take five-six wickets,' he added.

Agreeing that the game against New Zealand (at The Oval on September 16) was the key one, Ponting maintained the Black Caps will be thought of after the USA have been taken care of.

'Not that we worry much about the opposition, but it's one at a time... In any case, we don't just think of cricket... Having a break is also part of preparing which is why we decided not to train today,' he explained.

Surprisingly, despite being world champions thrice (1987, 1999 and 2003), the Australians haven't won either the Champions Trophy or its precursor, the ICC KnockOut.

'Yes, that's something we have talked about... Now, we have the chance to set that right... In fact, the boys spoke about it even before we landed in England,' Ponting signed off, making known his agenda for the immediate future.

Meanwhile, the USA are (expectedly) only looking for exposure.

As captain Richard Staple, a real estate agent in New York, put it: 'Perhaps, we may get overawed... The task is daunting... However, it's a great challenge and we need to learn from the stars of cricket...'

Staple, who played at the first-class level in the West Indies, continued: 'Versus New Zealand, we lost our way mentally.... Lost concentration, both while bowling and batting... So, for starters, we have to get tougher in the mind.'

He did add 'there's no point' taking the field if there's no self-belief but, really, the captain of a bunch of rank amateurs didn't sound convincing.

To be fair, Staple couldn't have.

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