Ponting planning for Ashes
Aussie captain begins build-up to end-of-year series
Last Updated: 03/06/10 11:33am
Ponting: Has Ashes focus
Australia captain Ricky Ponting says that all of his side's focus is now being put into preparing for the Ashes.
"Test cricket's all about Ashes cricket for me and it's the pinnacle of our game."
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The 35-year-old has been enjoying an eight-week break since his last competitive outing against New Zealand at the end of March.
Ponting will lead his side in five one-day internationals against England and two Tests with Pakistan over the summer, but he says the Ashes series that follows will constantly be at the forefront of his mind.
"I can't remember ever having an eight or nine-week break in my career," he said.
"The first part of it I just tried to enjoy the rest as much as I could and I've got back into a bit of physical work over the last few weeks making sure the body's going to keep up with five one-dayers in England coming up in the next couple of weeks.
"It's been a great break, we had a really busy two or three year period there, but it's time to get back into cricket again now.
"Everything we do now basically from now until late November when the first Ashes Test comes around will be all focused on that, so a good break for the guys and a good chance to freshen up for the guys but now it's back to business again."
England will be looking to retain the Ashes when they travel to Australia after a 2-1 series victory at home last year.
Ponting believes his side will be better prepared for the challenge this time around.
"It's pretty hard not to (think about winning back the Ashes every day) with a big series like this coming around when you need to redeem yourself as a playing group," the skipper said.
"The reason I play international cricket still is for series like this.
"Test cricket's all about Ashes cricket for me and it's the pinnacle of our game, so I'll make sure that both myself and the rest of the team are in the best shape that we can be.
"We've come a long way with our Test cricket, our inconsistent moments that we had if you like through the Ashes series last year haven't been there, which is a real positive sign.
"A lot of our more inexperienced guys have got another 10 or 12 Test matches under their belt, so as far as that's concerned I couldn't be happier with where we're at as a group of players.
"As long as we've got everyone fit and healthy and ready to go in November I'm sure we'll give the Ashes series a really good shake."