Gearing up for the challenge

Published : Mar 18, 2010 00:00 IST



Deccan Chargers’ skipper Adam Gilchrist is fully aware of the challenges he and his team are likely to face in IPL-3. “We are only focusing on how to retain the trophy,” he says in a chat with V. V. Subrahmanyam.

His exuberance even at the age of 38 can put to shame some of the under-19 cricketers. “Yes, I still feel as excited on the eve of IPL-3 as I was when I played under-12 grade,” says Adam Gilchrist with his typical, friendly smile. The former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman, an entertainer par excellence, is all geared up for Deccan Chargers’ title defence, which, according to him, is a “huge challenge”.

The Deccan Chargers skipper, who was the ‘player of the tournament’ in IPL-2 with 495 runs, took time off to speak to Sportstar on a wide range of topics.

“I have seen Sachin Tendulkar’s record-breaking innings of 200 against South Africa in the Gwalior one-dayer recently, at least 30 times. I felt very unfortunate not to have seen it live, but I enjoyed watching that innings every time it was played on TV,” said Gilchrist.

“He (Sachin) is the most remarkable batsman I have ever played against. A pure delight to watch,” was Gilchrist’s glowing tribute to Tendulkar.

“Well, initially I was not sure about all this talk about Bharat Ratna for Sachin. When I enquired about the award, I realised how prestigious it was. Then I told myself, ‘Oh goodness! He is not yet given that Bharat Ratna’. He should have got it by now. He truly deserves such accolades,” Gilchrist said.

Moving on to other international topics, Gilchrist was of the view that at home Australia, led by Ricky Ponting, looked the best team in the ODIs. “It reminded me of the good old days when we were the No.1. But after the setbacks in T20 and the one-dayer in New Zealand, I do believe we still have certain question marks. Let us wait and see how this team evolves in the next few months,” he said.

Speaking of his immediate goal as the skipper of Deccan Chargers, Gilchrist said it was always a great feeling to carry the tag of defending champion. “But I tell you Deccan Chargers is not going to invite pressure by thinking too much about that. What has happened in IPL-2 is past. We have to look ahead and the field is wide open and every team is capable of winning the title,” said the flamboyant opener.

“Essentially, we will try to recreate the Chargers culture once again for better results. That was the key to our success in the last edition. I enjoyed taking valuable bits and pieces of advice from every player and the support staff. In a way it was the secret of our success,” Gilchrist explained.

“We have a perfect blend of youth and experience and still have to be at our best to be the champion again. It is not going to be easy,” he confessed.

“Definitely, IPL-3 presents a huge challenge, especially for the young talent such as Mitchell Marsh, Rahul Sharma and Monish Misra,” Gilchrist said.

Talking of V. V. S. Laxman, Gilchrist said that he reminded him of his days with Matthew Hayden, especially the way he batted in the Champions League T20 last year. “In that innings, VVS showed he was capable of playing big strokes.

“It is going to be exciting and we are only focusing on retaining the trophy,” Gilchrist said.

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