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September 24, 2009

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Ponting says weakened Windies side still deserves respect

AUSTRALIAN captain Ricky Ponting says his team will not be taking Saturday's Champions Trophy encounter against the West Indies lightly despite the Caribbean side fielding a weakened lineup.

Australia begins its title defence of the title with a rematch of the 2006 final but due to a contractual dispute between the West Indies board and its players, an unfamiliar team will be lining up against Ponting's men.

"We all know the contractual issues the West Indies have been having but although their strongest team is not here, they will be as dangerous as they always are," Ponting told reporters yesterday. "They are naturally very attacking and flamboyant and, with one-day cricket being the way it is, we will give them the respect they deserve."

Australia has had a packed year of cricket but Ponting insists the team remains focused.

"This is not just another tournament, it's the second-biggest one-day event we play in, and post-Ashes it was all about making sure that we could produce our best cricket in these two weeks," he said.

"We've managed to keep in really good shape, both mentally and technically, and we just need to acclimatize to being at (altitude) here. But having played a lot of cricket recently is a positive and we're in as good shape as anyone. The mood in the squad the last few weeks has been particularly good. Even though we lost the Ashes, we gave it our best shot and it was a special series to be part of," he added.


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