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Ponting picks Doolan as his Tasmanian successor

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Alex Doolan made a century for Australia A in November.

Alex Doolan made a century for Australia A in November. Photo: Chris Hyde

FORMER Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is confident Tasmania's line of Test succession can continue, claiming Tigers batsman Alex Doolan should be in contention for this year's Ashes tour.

Doolan will play with Ponting in Tuesday's Prime Minister's XI match at Manuka, but Ponting said the 27-year-old was destined for higher honours.

Just as Ponting eventually took over from fellow Tasmanian David Boon, Ponting nominated Doolan as his potential successor.

''I spent a lot of time with him in the pre-season when we were away on tour for Tassie, I made sure I was around him a lot and we talked a lot about cricket and batting,'' Ponting said.

''I just wanted to see what I could do to try and elevate his game to the next level because every time I've seen him play he looks like he's got a bit more class than the average first-class player. I wanted to do whatever I could to bring that out … he's on the right track.''

Doolan scored 161 not out for Australia A last November in a warm-up tour match for the world number one Test team, South Africa.

But Usman Khawaja, also in the Prime Minister's XI, is another in line to succeed Ponting.

''Doolan obviously started the season exceptionally well, I know the selectors are talking about him being a future Australian player,'' Ponting said.

''Usman's in there too, so there's another guy who's played Test cricket and I'm sure will be thought about for the upcoming Indian tour and the Ashes tour after that.''

Of the bowlers, Ponting spoke highly of Tasmanian James Faulkner and Kane Richardson, who made his one-day international debut this month but has pulled out of the PM's XI team to work on his action.

But with a lack of depth in Australia's spin stocks, Ponting is also keen to see more of former Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed, who has only just been granted Australian residency.

The 30-year-old bowled in the nets in preparation for Australia's Brisbane Test against South Africa.

''He can bowl. there's no doubt about that,'' Ponting said. ''With leg-spinners, they need to be exposed to good players because you can get away with bowling leg-spin to club players but when you make the step up to bowling to the best batsmen in Australia and the world it's a different story.

''We need to keep pushing him into these sorts of games and hopefully we can get him into first-class cricket and he can continue to develop.''

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