Sydney, Sep 23 (ANI): Skipper Ricky Ponting is worried at the prospect of facing an under strength West Indies side during the opening game of the Champions Trophy, which would be followed by the start of the Australian cricket season against the same team.
The Australians' opening pool game of the Champions Trophy is against a Windies line-up severely weakened by a contract dispute, which will give the world champions a look at what side could arrive this November.
The likes of Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo are currently missing from the West Indies side because they are at loggerheads with their board over contract and pay issues, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
In their absence, the West Indies lost a home Test series to minnow Bangladesh two months ago and is led by Floyd Reifer, a 37-year-old player.
Ponting said Australia would treat Reifer's side with respect at the Wanderers on Saturday, but feared for the summer's three-Test series if the contract dispute was not resolved.
"I must admit I am a little bit concerned with the Australian summer and how that's going to pan out," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope the number one and full strength West Indian side makes the journey to Australia because all the fans around the world enjoy seeing the West Indies players, and certainly the fans in Australia will enjoy seeing their number one team hopefully arrive there in November.
"I'm sure from Cricket Australia's point of view as well, they'll keep their fingers crossed and hope that the full strength side does come out," he added.
The West Indies board has ordered their main players to participate in a domestic limited overs tournament in Guyana in October to be eligible for selection for the tour of Australia.
If the West Indies best players are not available for the November Test series, Cricket Australia will be left with a marketing disaster and the integrity of Test cricket could be brought into question if mismatches occur. (ANI)