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Sacrificing a 'keeper' is risky: Gilchrist

This 33-year-old could walk into any team as a batsman alone and did indeed start off his 0ne Day International career as a middle-order batsman. But after just 20 matches he was opening the innings for the world champion team - in ODIs and Tests as well. Adam Gilchrist has made the wicket-keeping slot his own following the retirement of Ian Healy.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2003 01:22 IST

This 33-year-old could walk into any team as a batsman alone and did indeed start off his 0ne Day International career as a middle-order batsman. But after just 20 matches he was opening the innings for the world champion team - in ODIs and Tests as well. Adam Gilchrist has made the wicket-keeping slot his own following the retirement of Ian Healy.

His versatility as a devastating opener and one of the safest pair of hands behind the wicket, give Australia a vital edge. Gilchrist spoke to reporters here at length on Sunday morning. Excerpts:

Did you see Saturday's match? Do you think the final will be very competitive?

Saw bits and pieces of the match. Looked to me India played really, really well. Sachin and Sehwag gave them a great start, which is not surprising - that's the way India go about their business - and then Rahul came out and finished very strongly. Our ambition was to come here and get to the final. Now, it will really be disheartening to go back without the trophy.

What about the wicket here?

Didn't take a close enough look. We will look at it before the match and then take it from there. But this is a terrific venue, hopefully we will have a great game.

How do you view the idea of India playing a part-time wicket-keeper? Does that give you an edge while batting?

They have a regular wicket-keeper in their side, but they don't play him. The logic is understandable. They feel that sacrificing a regular keeper and playing an all-rounder or a batsman in his place gives a balance to the side. But that's a huge risk. So if they feel that the advantage they get by playing the all-rounder or the extra batsman is worth taking the risk, that's fine. One-day game is all about risks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

How do you want people to remember you ? A wicketkeeper who can bat, or a batsman?

I just want to be remembered, and I'll be happy with it. I don't spend much time brooding on averages.

How do you manage the two specialised roles?

It's a lot of hard work and enjoying every moment of it is also important. I'll refer back to an earlier question of the part-time wicket-keeper. It's an additional responsibility and it's a thankless job. So the most important thing is that the person enjoys it.

Does the fact that 100,000 people will be cheering for India on Tuesday, put you under pressure?

I had actually asked Sachin that the other day but all he gave me was a wry smile. Actually, the pressure comes from within. But we have a tradition of doing well under pressure.

What about the Sachin-Steve trophy? Is it happening?

Yeah, I have spoken about it to the Cricket Australia president Bob Merryman. He said it could be something worth consideration. Actually, there are a lot of such traditional rivalry trophies in Test matches, but not in one-dayers.

And since the date January 26 is significant to both countries, I thought it would be great to link the two together and both Steve Waugh and Sachin Tendulkar are great players.

First Published: Nov 17, 2003 00:45 IST