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Ponting wants 'pigeon' to skip Champions Throphy for the Ashes

Written by: Staff
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Sydney, Apr 30 (UNI) Amid concerns among the fans and cricket administrators over the likely absence of top players from the forthcoming Champions Trophy, Australian captain Ricky Ponting today asked pace bowler Glenn McGrath not to take part in the mega event to be hosted by India later this year.

''McGrath would be better off missing the Champions Trophy and he might be better served by getting some work in county cricket before the Australian summer,'' Ponting was quoted by an Australian News Agency as saying on his return from Bangladesh tour, where the Aussies swept the hosts in both Tests and one-dayers.

McGrath opted out of the South Africa and Bangladesh tours to remain with his ailing wife who is battling a recurrence of breast cancer.

Following the one-day tournament in India in October-November, Australia host England and then head to the West Indies for the World Cup.

Ponting also said his side was heading ''in the right direction for the start of the Ashes campaign'' which is slated a month after the India event.

''With both forms of the game, I'm really happy with the way things are going,'' Ponting said.

''We've got Damien Martyn back in the Test side again now, we have got that really steady looking batting line-up which I think will be very good against the English out here in our conditions.

We believe that everything is sort of on course with Glenn (McGrath) at the moment and he's obviously very keen to play in the Ashes series. Stuart Clark is coming along beautifully, Brett (Lee) has had an amazing 12 or 18 months and Warney (Shane Warne) is bowling as well as ever, so our whole set-up is shaping up pretty well,'' the Aussie captain added.

UNI XC PDS RN1852

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