Waugh supports Ponting's IPL 2009 opt out

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Sydney, Feb.20 (ANI): Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh has backed incumbent Ricky Ponting's decision to pull out of the Indian Premier League 2009, describing it as "a smart move and a good decision".

Ponting, who is currently leading the Australian team in South Africa, opted for a two-week break with his wife and daughter rather than press ahead with the two-week stint for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ponting said his country came first and there was no way he could give his all for Australia if he played in India.

Waugh, who was in Sydney on Friday to promote the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Twenty20 game at the SCG on Sunday, supported Ponting's stance.

"Financially guys do pretty well and these days, so I think it's a smart move. He's captain of Australia, a lot of responsibilities, it's going to be a tough 12 months coming up. So, I think the two weeks will be invaluable for him to recharge the batteries, so it's a pretty good decision," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Waugh, as saying.

Waugh, however, said playing in the IPL gives players invaluable international experience.

Both Waugh and his predecessor as captain Mark Taylor believe South Africa would start favourites in the three-Test series commencing next week.

"One of the young fast bowlers needs to step up, whether it's going to be Peter Siddle, or it's a continuation of Mitchell Johnson's last 18 months," Taylor said.

"If one of those can step up and do what Stuart Clark did four years ago when he took 20 wickets out of the blue in his first Test series, Australia can win, there's no doubt.

Taylor also believed that uncapped youngster Phillip Hughes has the ability to prosper at Test level. (ANI)

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