Krejza is a key player for Australia: Ponting

Kushan Sarkar

Nagpur, Feb 24 (PTI) Australian captain Ricky Pontingtoday termed fast improving Jason Krejza as one of theimportant players in their World Cup title defence as theyprepare to take on New Zealand in a group A clash heretomorrow.

The defending champions and the Kiwis will lock horns atthe VCA Stadium in Jamtha, where Krejza had taken 12 wicketsagainst India on his Test debut.

"It''s always good as an international cricketer to turnup to a venue where you have had success. He knows the venueand wicket conditions and that will help him," Ponting praisedthe 28-year-old who played only his second ODI againstZimbabwe the other day taking two for 28 from eight overs.

Ponting feels that the off-break bowler is improvingwith every match.

"He has been improving with every match since the twopractice games. He bowled particularly well against Zimbabwe,the other night. He is a wicket-taking bowler. He can spin theball and will be an important player for us in the World Cup,"the skipper assessed.

While Australia are depending a lot on Krejza''s tweakingabilities, Ponting knows that his batsmen have struggledagainst the Zimbabwean slower bowlers. The three main spinnersProsper Utseya, Ray Price and Graeme Cremer gave away only 127runs from their 30 overs.

Remind him about the figures, the skipper shots back,"They didn�t take any wickets either."

"Well, it was unusual the other day as we played 39overs of spin. I know against New Zealand we will be playingagainst two good spinners. We also know they might open with aspinner. I have total confidence in my players and we haveprepared well. We know that to progress, we need to play thespinners well."

However he made no bones about the fact that he ismissing a few left-handers as all the others in the top-sixare right handers.

"It was unfortunate that Shaun Marsh and Michael Husseygot injured. It would have been nice to have a left hander upthe order when a spinner turns the ball away from the righthander. The presence of left-hander means that he would beable to break that rhythm." More PTI KHS AT

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