Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ponting happy with contrite Symonds

Ricky Ponting wants Andrew Symonds back in the Test side sooner rather than later.

Ricky Ponting believes Andrew Symonds has taken some major steps towards returning to the Australia team by admitting his behaviour over the past year has been sub-standard. Symonds was at Queensland training on Tuesday, where he signalled his intentions to work his way back to international cricket, and Ponting was pleased with the development.

"I actually think there were some really positive signs over the last couple of days with Andrew," Ponting told AAP. "He's actually fronted the media and admitted that there's some room for improvement in certain parts of his life."

Ponting was not in Darwin when the team leadership group ejected Symonds from the recent ODI series but he was involved in the decision by phone. Ponting will be leading a Test squad in India next month without Symonds, who was not considered for selection as he continues his Cricket Australia-organised programme to get him back on track.

"He's a terrific player and his Test record and one-day record over the last couple of years for Australia has been outstanding," Ponting said. "Hopefully for him as a person, if he can get those things sorted out, then we'll have him back in the team."

The next opportunity for Symonds to come back to international cricket would be during the home Tests against New Zealand in late November. Ponting said he would love to have Symonds in the squad "sooner rather than later".