Gilchrist looking at playing on past World Cup

Published: Saturday, August 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist says he is looking at remaining in cricket beyond next year's World Cup in the Caribbean.

Gilchrist, who requires 41 more dismissals to usurp compatriot Ian Healy at the top of the Test wicket-keeping list, had previously indicated that he might quit the game after the March-April World Cup to spend more time with his young family.

Exhausted after a year of near non-stop cricket, the 34-year-old keeper-batsman headed home after Australia's tour to Bangladesh last April and wondered how much longer he could maintain his packed playing schedule.

But he is reviewing his situation and said he is looking at playing on past the World Cup.

"If you had sat me down after Bangladesh and asked me how much time I had left in the game, you probably would have gotten a different answer to now," Gilchrist told The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday.

"I'm not keen on making any big statements, but right now I am looking to keep playing.

"I have voiced the opinion that I think there is too much cricket being played at the moment but, after a three-month break, I am dead keen for the (Australian) summer to start and the Champions Trophy, the Ashes and the World Cup to begin.

"Beyond that, you never know if your physical game or the skills are still going to be there but, if they are, I can't see why I would stop. The schedule is pretty clear for a while after the World Cup."

Since making his debut in 1999, Gilchrist has not missed a Test. He has scored 5,124 Test runs at 48.80 with 16 centuries in 100 Tests and is tied for third all-time with compatriot Rod Marsh on 355 wicketkeeping dismissals.

Injury permitting, Gilchrist may become the first wicketkeeper in Test history to claim 400 dismissals by next summer, having now announced his intention to play on post-World Cup.

"I will go to my grave saying that my job is to keep wickets," Gilchrist said.

"The keeping has been really pleasing lately. There is still plenty of motivation for me to keep playing. I can't see any value in playing just one form of the game, either."

Gilchrist's batting has been under fire since England's regaining of the Ashes last year.

Since Englishman Andrew Flintoff unveiled his highly effective around-the-wicket, at-the-body line throughout last year's Ashes series, Gilchrist has averaged 26.88.

"I might have fallen short of my own standards with the bat, but I still am doing quite well compared to the other keepers over the course of history," he said.

"That's not to say that I won't be working hard to get the batting right. My century (144 against Bangladesh in Fatullah) recently was one of my better ones, and has given me a lot of confidence.

"I'm thinking about facing (Flintoff) again the same way I thought of it in the ICC Super Series (against the Rest of the World).

"I am just really looking forward to getting back out there against the likes of Flintoff and (Stephen) Harmison and enjoying the challenge in the Ashes series later this year."

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