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Oz squad has talent to retain Ashes without Symonds: Ponting

Melbourne, May 20 (ANI): Australian captain Ricky Ponting has brushed aside concerns over the omission of troubled all rounder Andrew Symonds from this year’s Ashes squad.

A long-time backer of Symonds, Ponting said he believed that Australia had the talent in the squad to retain the Ashes on English soil without Symonds.

“I can’t personally be disappointed and we both know how good a player Andrew can be, but the facts are that he went out of the side for reasons last year,” Ponting said.

“Opportunities were given to others and the others that have come into those positions have played exceptionally well and played well enough to keep Andrew out of the squad. That is as simple and as difficult as it actually needs to be,” he said.

Symonds is currently plying his trade for the Deccan Chargers in the second edition of the Indian Premier League in South Africa, The Courier Mail reported.

“Look he will be disappointed but I have a squad of 16 players to take to England that I am very confident that we can play a level of cricket that is going to be good enough to win the series,” Ponting said.

“The selections have been made and I know the selectors have thought long and hard about this squad and the squad has come up without Andrew’s name in it. That is it, we move on and focus on the 16 players that we have got,” he said.

Chief selector Andrew Hilditch said Shane Watson had edged Symonds out at the selection table while allrounder Andrew McDonald maintained his place in the Test set-up.

Watson has been chosen subject to fitness after sustaining a minor groin injury in the recent limited-over series against Pakistan but Hilditch fully expected him to take his place.

The five-Test series starts at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, from July 8, and finishes at The Oval in late August.

Australia hold the Ashes after Ponting’s side completed a 5-0 series whitewash at home in 2006-2007 to regain the urn after a 2-1 defeat in England in 2005. (ANI)

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