Gilchrist says Australia in good shape despite retirements
Gilchrist himself will hang up his gloves for Australia after the triangular one-day series with India and Sri Lanka although he still plans to play in the IPL Twenty20 league later this year.cricket Updated: Jan 29, 2008 13:34 IST
Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist believes his team will remain the benchmark in world cricket despite the retirement of some of its biggest names over the last 15 months.
Gilchrist himself will hang up his gloves for Australia after the triangular one-day series with India and Sri Lanka although he still plans to play in the IPL Twenty20 league later this year
He joins in retirement a quartet of key players in one of Australia's most dominant eras -- Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn.
Gilchrist said in Adelaide Monday that one of the great strengths of the Australian team was their spirit and he believes that will ensure continued excellence.
"The thing that jumps up as a memory will be the camaraderie of the team, the passion and the pride in playing in that team," he said. "The way that legacy is passed on is the most glaring strength in Australian cricket."
Gilchrist also praised paceman Brett Lee, who claimed man of the series honours in the 2-1 win over India, saying he had taken the game to a new level since the departure of Warne and McGrath, helping to fill their void.
While Lee has stepped up, filling the hole left by the brilliant Gilchrist shapes as a major challenge for Australia.
Gilchrist is widely regarded as the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman ever to play the game and a player who changed the face of cricket.
His batting has turned many matches for Australia in his 96-Test, 277 one-day international career, but he is confident there is a ready-made replacement in New South Welshman Brad Haddin.
Haddin, 30, has played 26 one-day internationals for Australia and been Gilchrist's understudy since 2001.
"We've got a guy ripe for the picking, right at the peak of his game," Gilchrist said. "Brad's shown already that he can handle international cricket as a batsman alone.
"His glovework is outstanding and he's going to make a real impression in the world stage, I have no doubt about that," he added.
After another hotly-contested series with India, with Australia winning 2-1, Gilchrist said he expected that rivalry only to build.
"The Indian team have so much to look forward to after unveiling Ishant Sharma, RP Singh is continuing to rise," he said. "The rivalry is very healthy, there's a great rivalry there and hopefully a healthy rivalry remains."