Don’t let IPL cloud minds, Ricky Ponting to team

As the Indian Premier League carnival prepares to hit the South African shores, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has warned his players 
against letting the cash-rich tournament cloud their minds during the ODI series against the Proteas.

Australia and South Africa play a five-match ODI series starting on Saturday till April 17 and the IPL starts April 18.

Ponting said any player who gets distracted by the IPL would not be able to do well.

“I’d like to think that the guys have solely got their minds on what they need to have their minds on for the next couple of weeks,” said the skipper.

“The IPL will start up once our tournament is over. Whenever you are representing Australia, if you have a clouded mind on anything at all then you are not going to play your best cricket. I haven’t heard that around the group, any talk about the IPL whatsoever.

“We know that we’ve got a lot of guys coming out from Australia who will be arriving in South Africa very soon to start their preparations for the IPL. The moment I hear any of that stuff creeping in, it will be addressed,” he added.

Defending champions Rajasthan Royals will be the first to land here and based in Cape Town from next week.

Ponting made it clear that he would not tolerate any IPL talk in the dressing room during the series.

“We are the number two-ranked One-day team in the world and we’d love to see ourselves back in the number one ranking by the end of this series. They will be the motivating factors for us, nothing to do with the IPL,” Ponting told reporters.

“All the money and contracts have been sorted anyway. Now it’s just a matter of representing your country the best way that you possibly can. That’s what we’ll certainly be trying to achieve over the next couple of weeks,” he added.

Ponting has kept himself out of IPL, opting to spend time with his wife and daughter during the two-week break he will get after the current ODI series.

Meanwhile, rival skipper Graeme Smith admitted that IPL coming to South Africa has made some impact on players but insisted they remain focussed on their ODI series against the world champions.

“With the fact that it has come here to South Africa, it has impacted a lot more on the players at home. They have had probably a lot more involvement in terms of information for the respective teams,” he said.

“I know Rajasthan join in Cape Town in Monday. I have had an involvement in that. Ultimately South Africa comes first. After that we can take care of the IPL. I’m sure there will be a lot of interaction here and there, saying hello and catching up with the guys,” he added.

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