Ponting optimistic Australia can peak at right time

Australia captain Ricky Ponting told reporters Friday that while it is hard to pick a favourite to win the Cricket World Cup, he is optimistic the three-time defending champion can peak at the right time.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting says there are no favourites for the World Cup and hopes his team peaks at the right time in a bid to win its fourth consecutive title.

Ponting, who led his team to victory in 2003 and 2007, hopes his "team plays its best cricket toward the latter part of the tournament."

Ponting said on Friday that Australia, which opens against Zimbabwe at Ahmedabad on Feb. 21, was coming together well.

"We are in good shape, confident and have the momentum with us," he said. "But it will be hard to maintain intensity throughout the tournament because of its length and gap between games.

"We will make sure we progress nice and steady and peak later on."

Australia know how to peak, having won a record four of the nine World Cups, including the last three.

"There is no doubt that Australia has a pretty good record in the World Cup and other big events, but we are not thinking about it right now," Ponting said. "We have a really good squad and we will be doing everything to the best of our ability.

"I am not really bothered about who the favourite is because a number of teams have the ability to win. India and South Africa are probably the standout teams, but Pakistan and New Zealand are never too far away in ICC events and Sri Lanka are as good a team as any other in these conditions."

Ponting was happy that his team had just beaten England 6-1 in a one-day international series while he recovered from a broken finger, but indicated that results before the tournament did not matter.

"Going into the last World Cup, there was negativity around us," he said. "We lost the Commonwealth Bank series and lost to New Zealand, but we went there and won the World Cup."

Ponting felt the schedule gave a good chance for injured players to recover.

"In most tournaments, you get a break of two or three days between games, but here we have got seven or eight days between some of our games," he said. "We, at the moment, are carrying a few guys who are stiff and sore and are working their way into full fitness, so it's good to have time between games."

Australia was in Group A with Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Canada.

The tournament, being co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, runs from Feb. 19 to the April 2 final in Mumbai.