Ponting gets 'green signal' to tour India

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Johannesburg, Sep 20 (UNI) Australia captain Ricky Ponting has been cleared to lead his side in the forthcoming one-day series against India later this month, Cricket Australia (CA) chief selector Andrew Hilditch said here today.

The 32-year-old skipper was earlier ruled out of the remaining of Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa with a hamstring strain which he sustained during his side's super eight match against Pakistan on Tuesday.

However, setting at rest all speculations about Ponting's chances to lead Australia in India, Hilditch made it clear that Ponting would continue to stay in South Africa for rehabilitiation and would depart for the sub-continent next week with the rest of the Australian squad.

''Ricky Ponting is making excellent progress following his hamstring strain in the game against Pakistan. Ricky will be touring India and will resume playing as soon as he is medically cleared,'' Hilditch said in a statement.

He also infomed that middle-order batsman Brad Haddin will accompany the side as Ponting's cover up.

''Brad Haddin has been added to the touring squad and will take part in the Indian tour until such time as Ricky recovers. Although Ricky's injury is very disappointing it gives us an opportunity to recognise the outstanding performances of Haddin domestically and in his limited opportunities for Australia in the past 12 months,'' Hilditch informed.

Meanwhile, Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris, who is at present accompanying the team in South Africa, said he was satisfied with Ponting's progress.

''Ricky Ponting is making good progress in the early stages of his injury and is on track to take some part in the tour of India,'' he said.

Kountouris also informed that all-rounder Shane Watson would be assessed over the next 48 hours, after he left the field with hamstring soreness during their last super eight game against Sri Lanka today.

''Shane felt some soreness in the left hamstring during today's game and we will continue to assess this over the next 48 hours before any decision is made regarding his availability,'' he said.

The Aussies are scheduled to depart South Africa for India on September 25 to play seven ODIs and one Twenty20 game.

UNI

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