On Tuesday, the ICC announced the schedule for the T20 World Cup in Australia from October 18 to November 15, next year.
Former Australian wicket-keeper, Adam Gilchrist, who dominated the bowlers right through his career, believes no one can pick a winner in the Twenty20 format of the game and more so in a World Cup.
Travelling with the Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan to promote WA and Perth in particular, Gilchrist spoke to Sportstar about the World Cup next year, state of Australian cricket and the concern about the decline in South African cricket.
A supporter of day/night Tests, Gilchrist averred that the intent of day/night Tests is to keep the game current and engage with the fans.
“We have got to listen to the public and what the supporters are saying. I did not see any reason for India not to play a day/night Test in Australia last year, especially with the fast bowling attack they had, “ said Gilchrist.
Q) Would you hazard to pick the likely semi-finalists of the T20 World Cup?
A) I don’t think it would be easy to pick the likely semi-finalists, certainly not the winner. Australia has lagged behind in international Twenty 20s, generally it had not picked its best team in bilateral series. The fast bowlers had been rested and recently Steve Smith played his first Twenty20 series in three and half years.
We did not know what was Australia’s best team for Twenty20 and wondered how it would win. And suddenly we are picking our best team for the matches in our backyard. Sri Lanka did not provide much opposition though.
But we looked like having a well balanced line up in the series against Sri Lanka and in the first two matches against Pakistan, especially in Australian conditions and on our grounds. So I have to say that Australia is going to be one of the favourites.
But a lot can change in the next 12 months. England has looked dominant in white ball cricket. New Zealand have always performed well in big tournaments. And India beat Australia in Australia last year.
So the usual suspects and you never know what one is going to get from the West Indies. And Pakistan is the No.1 team for the last two years and all this makes for an interesting tournament. That’s the beauty of Twenty20 cricket in general. It’s just about enjoyment and entertainment. You don’t have to analyse it too much.
Q) Australian cricket seems to have settled down after the return of Steve Smith and David Warner?
A) Clearly much more settled down than this time around last year when we had our two best batsmen, Smith and Warner, out. We are 12 months further away from the sandpaper incident in South Africa. Well time heals things. I am really optimistic about things. Smith and Warner are back and that settles Australia’s batting to an extent. But there are a number of batting positions up for grabs.
Q) South Africa was outplayed by India in the recent series in India ?
A) That’s a concern. I think South African cricket is in a delicate situation. I don’t have any details, I have not researched about how they are financially and about the interest levels of the game in South Africa. They seem to be slowly slipping and lacking in consistency.
They have had a big generation of players leaving the scene: Hashim Amla, AB De Villiers, Dale Steyn and they have also been decimated by Kolpak, which is players going away to play in the UK.
That I would think and hope would be the main agenda at the ICC level as to how they are going to maintain interest for game in that country, because we cannot afford to have more high profile nations dropping away and the enthusiasm for the game disappearing.
I don’t have a ready made answer, but that’s something the cricketing community in the world should be trying to support.
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