Aussies can stay topcricket dogs, according to Gilly
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.
‘‘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