Sydney: Adam Gilchrist has been backed by skipper Ricky Ponting to continue as opening batsman in world champions Australia's One-day cricket team. Ponting on Tuesday denied suggestions that the dynamic left-hander would be better off down the batting order from where he could clout the old ball as he does in Test matches. Gilchrist's batting average from 144 international One-dayers is 33.63, with seven centuries and 25 half-centuries. The problem for some with Gilchrist opening in One-dayers is that he can fall victim to an unplayable early delivery when the ball and pitch are most helpful to the bowlers.
Critics say Australia risks losing its best attacking batsman too soon. "I've got enough faith in him opening - his technique is good enough at the top of the order," Ponting said. "If he just pays the One-day game a little bit more respect I think you'll see him be a lot more consistent opener for us. We all know what he can do when he gets off to a flyer; he gets the team off to a flyer," he stated. "As far as I'm concerned I'd like to see Gilly open right the way through this tournament (the upcoming series between England and Sri Lanka) and the World Cup as well." That spells trouble for Test batsman and Australia 'A' captain Justin Langer, whose only chance of making the World Cup next February-March in South Africa is if selectors decide they want another specialist opener to partner Matthew Hayden.