Melbourne - Australia captain Ricky Ponting said on Monday he was confident he would be fit to play in this month's Cricket World Cup despite a recent finger injury.
Ponting, who missed the final Ashes Test and the entire seven-match one-day series against England after surgery for a broken little finger, said the injury was improving quickly.
"It's a lot better now than it was last week," Ponting said at the Allan Border Medal presentation in Melbourne.
"I've been back in the nets this week, I've had three good hits, a bit of time out there, so it's actually probably a bit further advanced than I thought it would be."
Australia go into the World Cup, to be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in search of a fourth consecutive title.
Ponting said he had endured a frustrating month on the sidelines, but believed the way the team had performed in his absence, thrashing England 6-1 in their ODI series, showed they were ready to defend their crown.
"I'm really proud of the way the boys have played in the last few weeks, Michael (Clarke) led the side well and Cameron (White) led the side really well in Perth and we did start to get a few guys back to full fitness at the right time," he said.
"We've still got a few injury worries, but hopefully by the middle of this month and early March we'll be on the right track to winning a World Cup."
Ponting said it was difficult playing on the sub-continent, but the Australian squad, which leaves on Wednesday, had the players who had proven themselves under those conditions.
"We go in there with a well-balanced team as far as youth and experience is concerned and players that have had some success there in the past," he said.
The tournament starts on February 19.