India, Australia cricket ties are repairable: Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist says relations between Australian and Indian players are very much repairable despite the recent showdowns on and off the field. In an interview with Prabir Biswas on the sidelines of the India Today Conclave 2008, the world-famous wicket-keeper dismisses fears that the Indian Premier League will take attention off the longer versions of the game. Excerpts:

How has been the journey in international cricket?
It's still early to talk about that. The full effect of my retirement is yet to draw in. Right now, I am looking forward to the IPL, which I consider is an extension of my career.

What are your personal views on various controversies that marred the India-Australia tour Down Under?
All of us, whether it is the players, administrators or the media now have the opportunity to reflect on that summer and learn from it. I think all of us (players, administrators and the media) forgot the responsibilities that we have towards cricket.

Are we in a phase when relations between both the teams are at its lowest point? What should be done to improve it?
I see that it is a great fortune that IPL is turning up right now. It will help all of us, the players, to know about each other, the cultures, the customs, etc. The relation between the two teams is very much repairable, although I am reluctant to use that word. The relations have taken a few body blows, no doubt, but it will be fine.

Do you think it is time that the Australians take a relook at the way they play their cricket?

Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist
We have constantly analysed that over a number of years, whether we are doing it the right way or not. But from there, it boils down to the individual players, and each individual has to do that the moment he steps out for a game. I am sure the Australian team will take drastic measures now and make some changes.

How will you sum up the recent series in terms of performance by both the teams?
It fluctuated. We dominated early in the Test series, then India fought back. The ODI series was very evenly matched, but India took the upper hand later. I think they had the enthusiasm of the young players to their advantage. They produced a far superior cricket.

Do you think IPL is another watershed in cricket after Kerry Packer?
IPL is an extremely valuable product in cricket. IPL will enhance the game and could very well change the landscape of cricket in future. I think, it will not affect Test cricket. Yes it may affect one-day cricket, but I don't think anyone will regret that. It will be exciting and will have a positive effect on all forms of cricket. It will draw many more people to the game and that is what we all want. We want cricket to go global.

There is a fear that players donning the IPL cap may not give the best to their national sides.
No, I do not think so. There is such fear at the moment, but various cricket boards of the world will learn where IPL fits in. I am sure the ICC will make sure that international cricket remains the pinnacle.

Are you a trifle disappointed that you couldn't finish off your career with a win?
No, not at all.

Whom do you rate as the best wicket-keeper in your playing days?
Mark Boucher is a fantastic wicket-keeper and a world-record holder. I do not think that his world record in Test cricket will ever be broken. Then we have Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka who is doing a wonderful job standing behind wickets against spinners such as Murali. Also, I would mention Brendon McCullum of New Zealand who is standing up close to the stumps against medium pacers.

What will you rate as the most significant milestone of your international career?
Victory here in 2004 in the Test series, something which Australia had not been able to achieve before.

What would you advise to the aspiring wicket-keepers of the world?
Work hard and enjoy your cricket. Just practise, practise and practise. The more you do it the better you get at the job.

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