WC 2003 - Ricky is the main man in line, not me, says Gilchrist

Published: Friday, March 14, 2003, 23:50 [IST]
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Durban: Adam Gilchrist on Friday ruled himself out as a future Australia Test captain and backed World Cup skipper Ricky Ponting to be the long-term successor to Steve Waugh.Gilchrist, who has deputised as captain in Test matches, insisted that should Waugh decide to call it a day he would throw his support behind Ponting who has led the team to the semi-finals of the World Cup."Ricky is the main man in line, whether it is now or later.

He's an outstanding captain," the 31-year-old Western Australia wicket-keeper added. "He's grown into the leadership role and he's obviously an option the selectors will have." Gilchrist said Australian squad, preparing for Saturday's Super Sixes clash against Kenya, were as keen as anyone to find out if Test captain Waugh intended to prolong his international career.A decision whether the 37-year-old Waugh will tour the West Indies next month will be made by Sunday when the party for the Caribbean tour is finalised."No one's talked to Tugga (Steve Waugh)," explained Gilchrist.

"It's been discussed by the players here, not in a 'come on let us know' sort of way but more like two guys sitting in a pub."It's a big decision either way." Looking ahead to Saturday's day-night encounter, Gilchrist said experience had taught Australia, unbeaten at the World Cup so far, not to underestimate the African minnows."Kenya has got great self-belief and team spirit. The last time we played them (in September when Australia won by five wickets) they gave us a real scare in Nairobi.

"We changed the batting order that day and won with just a few balls and wickets to spare. You can't take any team lightly. They've had a lot of critics, a lot of people said they shouldn't be here after getting points because of New Zealand's forfeit."But there's no guarantee that New Zealand would have won.

Sri Lanka went there and lost." Gilchrist said Australia had still to settle on a team for Saturday and that it was still too early to tell if Andrew Symonds' groin injury would keep the hard-hitting batsman out.As well as physical troubles, Australia is aware of the mental strain building up around a team expected to coast to World Cup glory. "The expectation is huge that we're going to walk out and win the World Cup but not in our minds.

"When we were 80 for four against Pakistan, that could have gone either way and then, against New Zealand, we were 80 for seven, I said to Darren Lehmann this will be a big one to win."It's a good reality check. We've been very close to defeat a couple of times." However, Gilchrist insisted losing to Kenya would not relieve the tension."The only real pressure is what you put on yourself," said Gilchrist, who added he was feeling more relaxed than at the last World Cup. "We don't need to lose a game to ease it. That's not in our best interests."Copyright AFP 2001

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