Countdown to The Ashes: 15 days to go

Ponting denies any Australian intention to target Trescothick
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The Independent Online

The Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, said his team will not be specifically targeting Marcus Trescothick in the sledging department during the Ashes. The England opener, recovering from a stress-related disorder, feels he will be targeted by the world champions who like to unsettle opponents with well-chosen words, but Ponting said his team would not focus on the left-hander's personal problems.

"You are not going to personally abuse someone or do something like that about an illness or missing games of cricket," he said. "Our bowlers will definitely be coming hard at him. That will be with the ball.

"He was a vital player in their Ashes win last time around and he is a very experienced player for them. But there certainly won't be any more directed at Marcus in this series than in any other."

The focus is now firmly on the Ashes, with several players keen to find form this weekend in their only first-class match ahead of the series opener in Brisbane on 23 November.

Ponting says pacemen Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee need to step out for New South Wales in next week's tour game against England at the SCG. "They need to do a bit more bowling and get some good, long overs under their belt," he said.