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Gilchrist cool on Twenty20 format

Despite a world record performance against England, Australians are divided on the merits of international Twenty20 cricket.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2007 18:09 IST
Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse

Despite a world record performance against England, Australia's senior cricketers are divided on the merits of international Twenty20 cricket.

The International Cricket Council is considering holding an inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa later this year, but even a record total at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) did not fully convince Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist about the newest form of the game, which was born in English county cricket in 2003.

Australia's total of 221 against England was the highest in the brief 13-game history of international Twenty20 cricket and was watched by a full house at the SCG.

However, Gilchrist, who hit five sixes in a dashing 48 at the top of the Australian innings, warned against cricket administrators getting carried away with the initial success of the format.

The Australian keeper said there was a novelty factor that could easily be lost through more regular Twenty20 fixtures and said he had "question marks" over the World Cup suggestion when the format was so new.

"Last night was the first time I have been bitten by it, if you like," Gilchrist said on Wednesday.

"We've got to protect the jewels in the crown that are the 50-over World Cups and then Test cricket as a general game."

New Zealand and Australia are the most experienced Twenty20 international teams, with five matches each, but India, the West Indies and Pakistan have played it just once.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has struggled to embrace Twenty20 cricket, although he did offer tentative support for the World Cup concept after the win over England.

However, opener Matthew Hayden is on the bandwagon, saying it had "revolutionised" one-day cricket and declaring he could not "sing the praises of the game enough".

It is unlikely besieged bowlers will share the opening batsman's fervour for the slogathon that is the shortest form of the game but fellow batsman Mike Hussey also added his support.

"I think that it caters for a new group of fans," he said. "A lot of young kids and families can come down to the cricket and it doesn't take all day.

First Published: Jan 10, 2007 18:09 IST