Ponting eyes top Test ranking
Sydney - Captain Ricky Ponting says victory over the top-ranked Indians in next month's Test series would be a major step in Australia's bid to return to the number one spot.
The Australians are scheduled to arrive in India later on Monday in an unaccustomed position as the fourth-best Test nation and Ponting said his team had plenty to do to recapture former glories.
"We've got some work to do there," Ponting told reporters before the team's departure late on Sunday.
"I'd love to get the team back to number one again and this will hopefully be one of those steps along the way.
"If we play the cricket I know we're capable of in India and we can win the series, that will do great things for us to get back up near the number one ranking."
Ponting is presiding over an Australian team in transition after the retirements of modern-day greats Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer.
The Australian skipper said he was not expecting miracles from his team in the two-Test series in India, but would demand a high level of performance from his players, coming off a drawn series with Pakistan in England in July.
"I don't expect miracles, but expect a very high level of performance over the next few weeks," Ponting said.
"It's an important tour for all of us.
"For us, I think it will be great to be challenged the way that we will be challenged over there, by a very good team and by the conditions."
Ponting said the Australian team would be better prepared than when they faced Pakistan.
He said Australia's Test record "stacks up as good as any other country around the world as far as winning games and being competitive" is concerned.
On a personal level, Ponting said he was keen to improve on his batting average of 20.86 in India, where he has scored just one century in 12 Tests.
Uncapped young pacemen Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson were placed on standby for the India tour following a back injury to another young bowler Josh Hazlewood and the Champions League tournament commitments of squad members Peter George and Doug Bollinger.
Ponting said the two players were placed on standby as both George and Bollinger's teams could make the final stages of the Twenty20 Champions League tournament in South Africa, where the final clashes with the start of Australia's warm-up game in Chandigarh.
He added that once again the Australian team had taken advice from experts about security in India and had no fears regarding terrorism.
Australia play India in Tests in Mohali (October 1-5) and Bangalore (October 9-13) followed by three one-day internationals.