BRIDGETOWN  - Veteran batsman Ricky Ponting has warned Australia to not underestimate West Indies ahead of their three-Test series. The Windies have won just three of their last 28 Tests, slipping to seventh in the rankings on the back of the poor run.

The teams shared the spoils in both of the recent one-day international and Twenty20 series and Ponting said it was important Australia stayed focused ahead of the Tests, with the opener getting under way in Bridgetown on April 7.

“We spoke about it yesterday, about how competitive we think they’ll be and how prepared we have to be to win the Test matches over here,” Ponting said, as Australia prepare for a three-day tour match against a West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI.

“We definitely won’t take it for granted or take anything lightly. I guess that’s a big part of my job in the next few days - making sure the boys don’t get too carried away with things and that we’re preparing as we would if we were playing against one of the powerhouse nations in world cricket.”

Ponting’s last international match was a clash against India in an ODI on February 19 before he was dropped for the remainder of the triangular series, which also featured Sri Lanka. The 37-year-old, who helped Tasmania to two domestic finals, hopes to recapture the form that saw him smash 544 runs at an average of 108.8 in the four-Test series against India.

“It’s not about having one good series here and there, it’s about being consistent and putting performances on the board game after game,” Ponting said.

“The Indian Test series was great - it was a long time between drinks since I’d had a series like that and to come out of that and play really well in the games I played for Tassie was satisfying as well.

“To know that the hard work I’ve been doing is paying off is satisfying as well. That’s what this week’s all about now, getting that preparation right again and making sure I’m ready to go for the three-day game and get something out of that and take that over into the Test matches.”