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Fresh challenge excites Gilchrist

After a successful stint with the Deccan Chargers, Adam Gilchrist is set to start afresh as skipper of the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League’s Season IV. Ashutosh Sharma reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2011 01:04 IST
Ashutosh Sharma

After a successful stint with the Deccan Chargers, Adam Gilchrist is set to start afresh as skipper of the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League’s Season IV.

The former Australia great, who was bought by KXIP for a whopping $900,000 (Rs 3.9 crore) said he was relishing the new challenge.

“A lot of players moved around in the auction. No doubt, it will take sometime for the squads to settle down, but this is where the excitement is,” said Gilchrist.

After the initial stutter in Season I, Gilchrist had a successful stint at the helm with the Chargers.

He led the team to the title, and last year, the Chargers were knocked out in the semifinal of the tournament. KXIP, who were marred by controversies, spent a bare minimum on the team during the auction in January.

Apart from losing Yuvraj Singh to the Pune Warriors, they’ve lost the services of Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

Carrying the responsibility of turning around the team’s fortunes, Gilchrist said he was aware of the task on hand. “We may not be the strongest team on paper but we have talented players,” he said.

KXIP have a strong Australian flavour, as apart from the skipper, they have Michael Bevan as coach and talented players like David Hussey and Shaun Marsh.

Considered the best wicketkeeper-batsman of his era, Gilchrist would need to rely on Dinesh Karthik, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar and Abhishek Nayar in the batting and bowling departments.

The Aussie denied he was under pressure to prove himself, despite his advancing age, and said he was a believer in team effort.

“It is a group effort in the end. I don't think there is extra pressure on me. If we get the group together, we will be able to achieve our targets,” he said.

Injuries have hit the KXIP too as they have lost Stuart Broad and Dimitri Mascarenhas of England. “We have already got replacements in the form of South Africans Ryan McLaren and David Miller, so we are good to go. Quite a few teams were hit by injuries during the World Cup. This is part and parcel of the game,” he said.