Sydney, Feb 6 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting is bracing up for the sub-continental heat during the cricket World Cup by locking himself up in a virtual hot box.
Ponting, 36, hasn’t played for more than a month since he was ruled out of Sydney’s New Year Ashes Test against England with a broken little finger.
However, he has been working hard in the gymnasium, where he has trained alongside elite athletes, including World Cup Socceroo Mark Milligan and ironman Mark Simpson.
“He’s training hard; he just can’t face blokes bowling at 150km/h at the moment,” Jock Campbell, the former Australian team conditioner, quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald Sunday.
Ponting is practicing out locked in a hot box while wearing a beanie, hoodie and track pants.
“He has started batting against spinners but he’s really being pushed in endurance and speed sessions,” said Campbell, who has helped Ponting follow the rehabilitation programme set down by Cricket Australia.
Ponting’s toughest test at the Jock Athletic Studio opposite Cronulla Beach was Thursday.
With the outside temperature nudging 40 degrees, Campbell shut the windows, cranked the room temperature up to 42 degrees and pushed the batsman for 30 minutes.
“All the windows were shut and a few of the other people training at the time complained about the heat,” Campbell said.
“But, as I told them, the reason Ricky has done so well is because he does push himself. Even with his broken finger throbbing and swollen like a balloon, he didn’t complain once. It was a great effort. The great players defy the pain.
“Anyone who saw what Ricky has been put through in these heat sessions would have to admire his courage and toughness. He’s up there with Steve Waugh as one of the toughest athletes I’ve trained.
“However, it is a bit of a balancing act because we don’t want him to go to the World Cup overcooked or flat and tired.”
The World Cup starting Feb 19 will be Ponting’s fifth appearance in the mega-event. He has led the team to two victories in the previous two editions.