~~Aussies doomed if veterans retire at same time~~

Published: Monday, December 4, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Former England captain Graham Gooch feels Australian selectors must find suitable replacements for ageing stars like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist at the earliest or risk creating a huge vaccum in the team after they retire almost at the same time.

''Suddenly, in this side, you're going to get three or four players retiring all at the same time. And that is something Australia will have to guard against. They will have to feed some youngsters in at some time,'' Gooch told Fox Sports.

''You can't lose two bowlers who have taken in excess of 1100 Test wickets and not feel the pinch,'' the 53-year-old added.

Citing the examples of Warne and McGrath, Gooch said the deadly duo, despite being in the twilight of its career, continues to dominate the Aussie bowling and the dependence on these two would create a major problem for Ricky Ponting's men as they will most certainly retire together.

''McGrath and Warne are two champion bowlers who are not quite as good as they were a few years ago but still pretty good. That will be a major challenge for the Australian selectors and cricket in general,'' he explained.

The former English captain felt that the Australian selectors will have to take some tough decisions as the World Champions do not seem to have many youngsters in their reserve.

Gooch felt at 25, Michael Clarke, who is the youngest in the side, could not be called a youngster. He called upon Cricket Ausralia to make sure that none of the 35-plus players retire at the same time.

''What you always want is a gradual change, not suddenly have half your team disappear. The selectors will have to look at that. You want the continuity to keep going and you also want young players to come into the side when you've still got established players that they can feed off and learn off,'' he said.

''If you find yourself with four of five young players in the squad, they have to depend on each other and that makes it tough,'' he added.


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