Gilchrist rates India as strongest rival

Retiring wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist has rated India as one of Australia's strongest rivals in world cricket.

updated: January 28, 2008 15:39 IST
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Retiring wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist has rated India as one of Australia's strongest rivals in world cricket, saying the sub-continental team have made life difficult for the world champions in recent years.

Gilchrist, who retires from Test cricket after the fourth and final Test in Adelaide, said India has the wherewithal to come close to Australia in terms of winning matches.

"India are a great side. They had been playing great cricket against us over the recent years. I believe they can match us in winning matches," he said in a television interview recorded before the start of the Test in Adelaide.

"Everybody chipped in to come up with a great win in Perth. That has been what we had been doing for long. They can do like us," he added.

Gilchrist, however, was not forthcoming when asked whether India have become the ultimate competitor and a boogie side as they had stopped Australia from a world record 17th successive win on two occasions.

"That has been what a lot of people have been saying. That (stopping from 17th win) is uncanny, it could be coincidence too. But, in the last few years India had played great cricket against us, in 2001, 2004, particularly 2001, besides this series."

In 2001, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid had fashioned one of the greatest comebacks in Test history to beat Australia in Kolkata to stop the visitors' 16-match winning streak in a tour which was described by captain Steve Waugh as looking to cross the "final frontier".

"That tour was one of my most memorable for its ups and downs for the team and for myself," Gilchrist said.

"I scored a hundred in the first Test in Mumbai and scored a pair in the second in Kolkata, and single digit score in the third (in Chennai).
"One lakh people watch that match in Kolkata, but I was so lonely (after the pair)," he said.

The Australian vice-captain, who has stood-in six times for Ricky Ponting, said he never had a burning desire to become a captain but would have accepted the job if offered.

"I had no thought that I want to become a captain. Playing for the country and doing well was enough. I think Ricky is the correct person to do the job. I am not the person to look back and regret on something," he said.