Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. SMP Images

Kiwis expect to face Ponting

RICKY Ponting's career is entering the doldrums but New Zealand captain Ross Taylor still thinks he is the man to help steer a young Australian ship in the right direction.

The former Australia captain, who turns 37 next month, is in danger of the axe after averaging only 20 in the past year and having gone 28 innings without a test ton, but Taylor said he was still expecting to face Ponting in the first test at the Gabba which starts on Thursday next week.

"He's a world class batsman still," said Taylor on the eve of New Zealand's match against Australia A. "There's been a lot made of his form in recent times but any guy who is averaging over 52 [in tests] would be making most teams around the world.

"With the youth that is coming through in this Australian team, having a senior player with the stature that he has will add a lot to the Australian dressing room."

Pat Cummins is one of those up-and-coming players. The 18-year-old quick bowler took six wickets on his debut against South Africa in Johannesburg recently and Taylor is also expecting Cummins to be selected. "I don't think you drop many people who get six-for on debut do you?"

Despite Cummins' tender years and the fact that he would be wearing the green baggy cap at home for the first time, Taylor said psychological warfare was not on the agenda.

"If you start those sorts of mind games with a youngster ... As I said before, we've just got to worry about ourselves. We've got some good youngsters as well and we'll look forward to seeing how they go against Australia A.

"Doug Bracewell is a famous name in New Zealand. He took five-for on debut [against Zimbabwe] and while he isn't 18, he has only just turned 21.

"He can bowl with some high heat and I'm sure he will be looking forward to bowling on bouncier conditions than we had in Bulawayo."

Taylor said he was looking forward to the Australian conditions after lifeless pitch in Bulawayo, and it was important his batsmen spent time in the middle at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane against Australia A.

Tim Southee, who missed the recent tour of Zimbabwe due to injury, would strengthen New Zealand's bowling attack considerably, he said.

New Zealand's tour of Australia consists of the warm-up game and two tests. The other test is at Bellerive Oval in Hobart and starts on Friday, December 9.

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