Since the time he ended his 12-year international career in 2008, Adam Gilchrist has become a regular visitor to India in various roles — as an Indian Premier League player/ coach, a speaker, and a brand ambassador of an Australian university.
This time round, his trip here has a special significance, for the Australians are just weeks away from a four- Test tour to India that provides both flawed teams a chance to gain the ascendancy in the ICC Rankings.
Gilchrist is expecting yet another high-voltage series, as is the norm between the teams, and said sparks fly because of the respect they have for each other.
“All top two- three teams in the world are evenly matched.
They can beat anyone on any given day. England have challenged [ and beaten] India here so there is an opening for Australia.
I am sure it would be a terrific series,” Gilchrist said during a function at the Australian High Commission here on Monday.
Schedule: India vs Australia
“It’s a great rivalry and when it gets so aggressive in the sporting arena, it’s a sign of respect. You feel threatened by an opponent so you play harder and it might lead to a heated confrontation. That’s a sign of ultimate respect. But I have learnt that what might be acceptable in one culture might be frowned upon in another.” The one difference between England and Australia is expected to be the latter’s lack of a quality attacking spinner while the former used Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar to great effect. Gilchrist said he was also waiting to see what combination the Aussie selectors would pick, given the paucity of anyone other than Nathan Lyon who has shone at the top level.
“The spin component is always important in India.
Back in 2004 [ when Australia won the series 2- 1], Shane Warne played a huge part, but we had an attack more focused on pace bowling. It will be interesting to see what Australian team is selected and how the bowlers cope in these very trying conditions,” he said.
Gilchrist’s old nemesis, Sachin Tendulkar, quit the ODI format last month, and the Australia series may just be the Indian batting maestro’s swansong. He said if and when Tendulkar decides to hang up his helmet, he would still get a lot of love and respect from Australia.
“The respect and admiration for him is unchallenged in world cricket. The [ Australian] Order of Merit awarded to him last year signifies the esteem in which he is held in Australia.
“If indeed it turns out to be his last series, or whenever the time comes for him to finish, there will be a great deal of respect paid to him from Australia,” the 41-year-old former wicketkeeper-batsman said.