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Ponting set to join up with squad

Australia captain Ricky Ponting will fly out to lead his team in the Twenty20 world championship in South Africa after an improvement in his wife's health.

Ponting is expected to arrive in South Africa in time to attend the International Cricket Council Awards ceremony at Johannesburg on Monday ahead of the start of the tournament, he said Friday.

Ponting had been in doubt for the inaugural Twenty20 championship after staying behind when the Australian team flew out on Monday because of a "private family reasons".

On Friday he revealed that the issue was a health problem for his wife, Rianna, which he did not specify.

"Fortunately Rianna's health has improved over the last few days and I'm hoping travel plans can be finalized as soon as possible," Ponting said.

"I'm grateful for the support we've both had from Cricket Australia and my teammates, and in particular I'd like to thank (vice captain) Adam Gilchrist and (coach) Tim Nielsen for their leadership roles in the early days of the Australian squad's first-ever Twenty20 international tour," he added.

"It made things easier here knowing the team was in such good hands."

Ponting was one of three players absent from the Australia squad's flight to South Africa allrounder Shane Watson has a hamstring injury and paceman Stuart Clark's son is ill.

A decision on whether Watson will also join the team was to be announced in South Africa later Friday. Watson had experienced hamstring tightness.

Australia plays two warmup games against New Zealand on Saturday and South Africa on Sunday, before its opening group match with Zimbabwe at Cape Town on Wednesday.

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