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Gilchrist says its not possible to be saint

Gilchrist admitted that India had proved to be one of the toughest opponents for the Australians.

cricket Updated: Mar 15, 2008 16:53 IST

Taking a dig at Harbhajan Singh, just-retired Australian stumper Adam Gilchrist said it's impossible to "behave like a saint" when a cricketer plays Test matches against one of the toughest opponents like India.

Reacting to the Indian off-spinner's remarks that Gilchrist was "no saint," the Australian said he never proclaimed to be a noble soul during a bitter battle of Test cricket.

"An off-spinner from Punjab said Adam is not a saint. There are no saints in Test cricket and I never proclaimed to be one. It's a hard-fought game there, lot of passion and emotion involved in it," Gilchrist said at the India Today Conclave here today.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, however, said that the players should stay within the limits while making personal attacks on rival cricketers.

"As long as the players do not cross the line it's fine. But, the administration should see they do not regulate the natural behaviour of the players," he said.

Gilchrist admitted that India had proved to be one of the toughest opponents for the Australians and the his teammates took a lot of pride in their achievements against the sub-continent nation.

"The 2001 series was one of the highest rated series on television. The Border-Gavaskar trophy is one of the high profile Test match series. Against India, we have faced toughest challenges and had toughest battles", he said.

"My centuries in 2001 in Mumbai and in 2004 in Bangalore were the greatest achievements of my career," he said, adding "the psyche of the Australian team has changed towards India."

About India's recent tour of Australia which marked by controversies, Gilchrist admitted that the players crossed the line on some occasions to earn a bad name for the game.

"It was aggressive and hard-fought. The players did cross the line. The boundary has been damaged. But I don't see that as something that cannot be repaired. The players have great respect for each other and they should learn from this."

Citing the example of maveric speedster S Sreesanth's controlled behaviour during the tri-series, Gilchrist said the best way to retort back at one's opposition was to do it through one's performance.

"I agree with Anil Kumble that cricket should do the talking. Take the case of Sreesanth. What he was in last October and in Australia were different. He reformed himself and learnt (from his mistakes)," he said.

On his own captain Ricky Ponting, Gilchrist said the Australian skipper must have learnt a lot of things from the controversy-ridden summer that ended with a tri-series thrashing at the hands of India.

"The captain is accountable for his team's behaviour. Ponting is really developing as a captain. In the 2005 Ashes loss, he learnt a lot tactically. We were winning it for 18 years and suddenly we were nowhere. It was like an ambush, we were outplanned and outplayed.

"But we regained in the next series in three matches. And in Perth where we were just one wicket away from victory, Ricky said let's be gracious in victory, let's not get carried away", he said.