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Symonds a definite starter, decision on final XI at last min:Ponting

Sydney, Nov 19 (UNI) Captain Ricky Ponting today said all-rounder Andrew Symonds will definitely play in the first Test against New Zealand at the Gabba, but avoided to disclose either all-rounder Shane Watson or off-spinner Jason Krejza will be included in the squad.

''Symonds a certain starter,'' Ponting declared. ''Symonds will definitely play the game, back into the Test team, which is fantastic news for him,'' Ponting was qouted as saying by the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

''We'll wait until tomorrow morning until we finalise what the final 11 will be, but it will be down to Krejza and Watson,'' he added.

However, the skipper dismissed any concerns about Symonds's form. He said, ''His feats in the baggy green in the past two years had more than justified his selection.'' But Ponting added that the decision on the final XI will be left to the last minute, ''also it would depend heavily on the weather conditions overnight''.

There are, however, doubts either Watson or Krejza would remain unlucky to miss the series.

Watson has impressed with his medium pacers in India, while Krejza took 12 wickets on debut in the fourth Test of the four- Test series which the World Champions loss 2-0 against India.

''They will be desperately unlucky, whoever misses out there,'' Ponting said.

''Krejza's taken 12 wickets in the last Test match he played and at different times in the Indian series. Shane Watson was probably our best bowler. So there are tough decisions to be made there.

''Obviously with Symmo, when he was deemed to be fit and ready to go again I think it was important that we got him back into that team. Him being a senior member of our team - and someone who was a very successful member of our team before he went out of it - it almost becomes an injury-type replacement.

''He's been out for a couple of months but he's fit and ready to go now and he deserves his spot back in the side,'' he stressed.


Story first published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 13:35 [IST]
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