Ponting - Lee will deliver
Test skipper delighted to see veteran paceman back in contention
By Joe Drabble. Last Updated: 01/04/10 5:41pm
Ponting & Lee celebrate
Ricky Ponting has backed injury-hit paceman Brett Lee to bowl Australia to glory in the upcoming World Twenty20.
Lee, 33, was handed a surprise place in Australia's final 15-man squad for the event, which gets under way in the West Indies on April 30.
Should the veteran seamer feature during the tournament, it will be his first international appearance since touring India back in October 2009.
An elbow injury has kept Lee out since that date, however Ponting, who has retired from T20 cricket, believes the selection of his long-time team-mate is a gamble worth taking.
"He hasn't played a lot of cricket for a few months but it's great to see him back on the park now," Ponting said upon his return home from the successful tour of New Zealand.
"I watched him bowl the last couple of nights (in the IPL) and his pace has looked good.
"It's a good sign to have someone of that class and calibre in the team going into a big tournament.
"I know he's got a few more games to play to get back to full fitness yet but it's a really good sign for the Australian team he's back out on the park playing again.
"Brett's an experienced limited overs bowler and I knew once he came back he would get back into the side."
Ponting is now looking forward to an eight-week break before preparing for a two-Test series with Pakistan in England.
Australia will be full of confidence after going through their entire summer season unbeaten following Test wins over West Indies, Pakistan and New Zealand.
And Ponting reserved special praise for vice-captain Michael Clarke and Marcus North for their displays under pressure in the 2-0 success against the Black Caps.
"It was great to see a couple of guys who were under clouds going over there, one being Michael with all the off-field stuff and the other being Marcus North really find their feet and start playing good cricket for Australia again," Ponting said.
"They were both under pressure for different reasons going there but both probably found some of their best cricket in a long time.
"It says a lot about the character of those guys and the character it takes to survive at that level."