Australian cricket legend Adam Gilchrist feels India’s ODI and T20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni should be left alone to take a call regarding his future in international cricket as he has “earned” this right.
On the sidelines of an interactive session with school kids here on Thursday, Gilchrist, who is now Australia’s Education Ambassador to India, told reporters that the Indian skipper has “earned the rights” to take decisions on his own.
“I don’t like the fact that at this stage of a player’s career, journalists or even the public start asking these questions. I don’t see any evidence that he (Dhoni) is not upto the standards. He doesn’t get too many decisions wrong.
There was a time when he felt that it was time for Test cricket when everyone asked ‘why’. Similarly, he would take a call on limited overs cricket too,” said the former wicketkeeper.
Speculations are rife that Rahul Dravid might take over the duty of coaching the Indian team.
‘Gilly’ feels that the 43-year-old former India batsman fits the bill perfectly.
“Rahul’s cricketing experience as a batsman or as a mentor or as a cricket mind is on par with anyone else in the world. I watched with interest when he took charge of the U-19 Indian team in the world cup and achieved considerable success. I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls on him,” quipped the swashbuckling left-handed batsman, who also ruled out any possibilities of him donning the hat of a coach anytime soon.
“I have no aspirations to become a coach. I coach my son’s U-14 team and that itself is a big challenge,” said the 44-year-old.
Gilchrist feels that in spite of the recent controversies, IPL remains a prize catch in the world of cricket.
“Players have benefitted from the IPL. It’s lucrative financially. From an administrative point of view, it has had its ups and downs. Hopefully, a consistent model can be worked out,” he elaborated.
The owner of 17 Test hundreds though agree that T20 cricket has affected the playing style of classical Test batsmen.
“Yes, it has affected the style of playing Test cricket.
Batsmen are moving away from the traditional technique. But, it’s inevitable. You still have examples such as Kane Williamson who has got a lovely technique and has still been successful in all three formats. But, that doesn’t mean that someone who has a traditional technique would be rendered ineffective,” he told PTI.
“The pace of the game has changed. The 50-over game contributed to that in the 90s and it’s probably been fast-tracked again. But, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
People in this day and age want to be entertained,” Gilchrist said.
“Occasionally, we get wickets that are so batsman-friendly that bowlers hardly have a chance but there are other extremes as well. A middle path has to be found,” said the former Deccan Chargers player.
Gilchrist feels that different challenges are good for the game and he is not of the opinion that T20 cricket is diminishing the following of Test cricket.
“You might not see huge crowds in Test cricket but that has been the case the world over for sometime. I still feel that Test cricket continues to enjoy a loyal following. These days, it’s often difficult for viewers to dedicate five days or even a day to a cricket match.
“But, they continue to follow a Test match on their phones, tablets, computers, radio, TV there’s still a massive love for the game. Empty stands are obviously a big issue but a cricketer, even after winning the T20 world cup, would like to be remembered as a Test player,” he added.
Gilly was all praise for the West Indies team that won the ICC World T20 in spite of differences over financial issues with the administrators back home.
“It’s not an ideal situation. I don’t think anyone wanted it to be that way — players or administrators. But, it seems that the players used it as some sort of a motivating factor.
I would suspect that it was not the driving force. They played good cricket, enjoyed themselves and wanted to win,” he said, adding that the ICC “can” step in to solve the problem.
Another cricketer that received accolades from the former Aussie superstar was Virat Kohli. Asked about India’s ‘dependence’ on the Delhi batsman, Gilchrist said, “I think, it’s a bit of a reverse. He’s (Kohli) been so good that he often doesn’t give others a chance to bat. You can’t really question a team or a player that is producing phenomenal results. He’s batting the full 20 overs,” said the veteran of 96 Test matches and 286 ODIs who does not have a problem with pink ball Test cricket anymore.
“The purist in me was saying that no, that’s not Test cricket. But, I had to argue with the spectacle it produced, the interest it generated. There are many positives,” Gilchrist signed off.