Ponting blasts Trott choice
Aussie skipper happy to pose selection dilemmas ahead of finale
Last Updated: 19/08/09 10:38am
Ahead of the deciding Ashes Test, Australia captain Ricky Ponting has said that England's decision to select Jonathan Trott for The Oval showdown smacks of "desperation".
The Oval, August 20-24
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"It probably shows a bit of desperation I guess, on their behalf, to be doing that."
Ricky Ponting on the selection of Jonathan Trott Quotes of the week
The Warwickshire batsman has been handed a debut in the most pressured of circumstances after the out-of-form Ravi Bopara was dropped in the wake of England's innings defeat at Headingley.
The likes of Robert Key, Mark Ramprakash and Marcus Trescothick were all considered to bolster England's misfiring batting order before selectors plumped for South African-born Trott.
And, with momentum firmly with the tourists after they won the fourth Test inside three days, Ponting is content to be posing England more headaches, adding that Australia had done their homework on the debutant.
"It probably shows a bit of desperation I guess, on their behalf, to be doing that," he reflected. "When we arrived, which is only a couple of months ago, everyone was talking about how good Bopara was and how much of an impact he was going to have on the series.
"That hasn't happened but we understand that Trott is a good player and we've had an opportunity the last couple of days to have a good look at him and the way he plays.
"We've spoken to a couple of the guys around the county scene that have played a bit against him as well, so there will be no excuses as far as our preparation goes against him."
One man not present in Leeds was Andrew Flintoff, who returns for his Test swansong on Thursday with Ponting all-too-aware of the inspirational qualities the all-rounder can bring to the England side.
"He'll want to have a good game in his last Test match so whether or not that frees him up or whether or not that puts more pressure on him I'm not sure," he continued.
"Having not been in that situation of playing my last game, I don't know what it's like but what we do know is, whenever he plays for England, the crowd gets a lot more involved in the games.
"Whenever he's bowling, the whole ground lifts a little bit and the difference between the first three games and Headingley was they just didn't have him to turn to and the crowd didn't get involved in the game.
"It will be sad to see such a big figure in the game of Test cricket move on.
"He's been a great opponent of ours over the years and someone who's always played the game in the right spirit, so we'll see how he goes this week."
The fifth Test will also likely prove to be Ponting's last on English soil but he admitted that, in a career spanning 15 years, he could not remember feeling so excited.
"I spoke to the other players before the first Test and told them I was excited about the whole series and how much it meant to me," he enthused.
"But this game now, I don't remember being this excited for a game. I was up at 6.30am wanting to get to breakfast, have the team meeting, get to training.
"I can't wait for Thursday to come around and I can sense that around some of the other players in the group.
"When we lost in '05, I don't think it hurt me any more than it hurt the next guy in the changing rooms and it will be the same this time around.
"We're all here together, we're all a part of it and all in exactly the same boat.
"It's a special series to all of us, and look, it might be my last chance to get a crack at doing it here but I'll just prepare as if it's any other game and hopefully go out and play as well as I can in this game.
"If we play our best cricket and it means we win, if we play our best cricket and it means we lose, then that's all we can control."