The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Put Australia under early pressure: Cairns

Pretoria, Feb. 1 (AFP): New Zealand vice-captain Chris Cairns said Ricky Ponting had yet to prove himself as an international captain and that the world champions should be put under early pressure.

“Ricky Ponting is an unproven international captain, whereas guys like Shaun Pollock and Stephen Fleming have been around for a while,” he said at the team’s training camp in Centurion.

“But they are great frontrunners, so you have to get them under pressure early. It’s not easy, that’s why they are so successful,” he said. “Also when you get rid of someone with the stature and ability of (former skipper) Steve Waugh it can have a negative effect on the team.”

Regarding his own team, Cairns said he believed the current squad is the country’s most effective ever at a World Cup.

“We have a number of very useful experienced guys and a number of very talented young players,” he said.

”In addition, many of them such as Shane Bond, Jacob Oram, Andre Adams and Darryl Tuffey have not been seen by the South Africans, would work in our favour.”

The prospects though of facing South Africa at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, ironically a ground on which Cairns yet has to play, were pretty daunting.

“We’ve got a shocking record against South Africa in recent years. I think we have won one of our last 15 matches. It’s obviously not going to be easy, especially with their home support,” he added.

Overall, Cairns believes this year’s World Cup will deliver some good cricket.

“I think you are going to see very good bowling, very good batting and very good fielding. I don’t believe you are going to see high totals, because the quality of the bowling is so good, gone are the days of slogging big scores,” Cairns said.

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