Aussies can stay topcricket dogs, ac­cord­ing to Gilly

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

AUS­TRALIA can re­main the world’s top cricket team even with­out star bowlers Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, ac­cord­ing to Adam Gilchrist.

McGrath is ex­pected to soon con­firm he will be quit­ting the game, while Warne an­nounced his re­tire­ment on Thurs­day.

The pair has cap­tured a to­tal of more than 1200 Test wick­ets and Warne is poised on 699 ahead of next week’s Box­ing Day Test at the MCG.

De­spite the chasm the pair will leave, Gilchrist was yes­ter­day adamant Aus­tralian cricket would con­tinue to set the pace.

‘‘I think it’s pos­si­ble to re­main the No. 1 team in the world,’’ Gilchrist said.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to main­tain that play­ing style or types of stan­dards we’ve hit un­der the guid­ance of Warne and McGrath.

‘‘But we’ve been with­out them be­fore — and at the same time — and we’ve still been able to win but maybe it’s not been quite as com­pre­hen­sive, it’s been more of a fight.

‘‘They’ll be very tough shoes to fill but I do think we can main­tain our stan­dards as be­ing one of the most com­pet­i­tive teams in the world if not re­tain that No. 1 po­si­tion.’’

Gilchrist, 35, said Cricket Aus­tralia had been pre­par­ing for years for the day when its vet­eran would re­tire.

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‘‘I think Cricket Aus­tralia’s been very aware of it — it’s not like we all woke up and we were 35,’’ the Test vice-cap­tain said.

‘ ‘ I think Aus­tralian cricket is in a much stronger po­si­tion col­lec­tively by way of the tal­ent that is ready to fill those po­si­tions than what per­haps we were in the mid-1980s.

‘‘I think the coach­ing struc­tures, the de­vel­op­ment pro­grams have en­abled us to bol­ster and brace our­selves for the tran­si­tion.’’

Gilchrist said sev­eral other se­nior play­ers would face dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions over the next year but he would prob­a­bly not be among them.

‘‘It’s fair to say there’s prob­a­bly a group of us con­sid­er­ing where we’re at and what fur­ther part cricket’s got to play in our lives but not to the point where it’s a real sit-down de­ci­sion­mak­ing time,’’ he said.

‘‘The time comes to you and it will re­ally re­veal it­self when it is the right time and I cer­tainly don’t feel that’s the case at the mo­ment.

‘‘Phys­i­cally I feel ex­actly the same as I’ve felt for five or six years, so that’s pretty much most of my Test ca­reer.

‘‘Prob­a­bly start­ing late has al­lowed me to re­main pretty fresh.’’

PLENTY OF DEPTH . . . Adam Gilchrist be­lieves Aus­tralia can over­come the loss

of Shane Warne and the im­pend­ing re­tire­ments of other se­nior play­ers

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