Johannesburg: The seven-match Natwest ODI series between England and Australia was too long and has disadvantaged the teams ahead of the Champions Trophy, says Ricky Ponting. The series finished in Durham on Sunday and the squads had to jet off almost immediately for the eight-team tournament in South Africa, where the other six sides had already been playing warm-up games.
"I've always been against seven-match series," Ponting said after Australia's loss in the last game. "Every other team is in South Africa playing practice matches while we're finishing off this series. We know the reasons for it, but seven games head to head is a bit too many."
The limited-overs portion of Australia's tour lasted nearly four weeks and was seen as a poor advertisement for the 50-over format. The 6-1 victory did at least give Australia some momentum leading into their Champions Trophy defence, but Ponting said it was important not to relax.
"We can't get carried away with what we've done," Ponting said. "We've got a few big games coming up in South Africa." Australia are in a group with India, Pakistan and a severely weakened West Indies, and the top two teams will move through into the semi-finals.