Ponting backs North, Siddle to fire up in dead rubber

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Hobart (Tasmania, Australia), Jan.14 (ANI): Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has come out in full support of both batsman Marcus North and pace bowler Peter Siddle, both of whom have not had the best of the Australian cricket summer.

North has not been advised that his performance in Hobart will make or break his hold on the No. 6 position in the Australian squad, while Siddle has been reassured that the number in the wickets column beside his name is of little consequence so long as he is doing the donkey work while Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger get the glory.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Ponting, a long-time admirer of the Victorian's tireless aggression, said: "I'm not too worried about the wicket column next to his name, because what he is doing at the moment is forming part of a really good bowling attack."

"That is one thing I have stressed with the selectors over the last couple of years. It's about making sure we pick an attack and not just look at the next best bowler who's going around the scene. It's important that the bowlers in the line-up really complement each other well and at the moment with Dougie and Mitch going so well, and Haury (Nathan Hauritz) having picked up the wickets he has in the last couple of games, 'Sids' has had to do the bullocking work, charge in from one end and pretty much keep the run rate down and not really worry about attacking too much," he added.

Siddle has six wickets at a cost of 68.33 in four Tests, having missed one with a hamstring strain and been plagued by bad luck at the Adelaide Oval and the SCG.

Ponting also empathised with North and presumably with his vice-captain, Michael Clarke. All three are averaging below 30 for the series but North has borne the brunt of the criticism because he is a relative newcomer to the team, having announced himself with a century on debut in Johannesburg last February.

"That certainly hasn't been stressed to him, no," said Ponting, of suggestions North's position was on the line in Hobart. (ANI)

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