London: Paul Collingwood believes Australia will find it hard to replace the "amazing" Adam Gilchrist after the wicketkeeper announced his retirement on Saturday.
Gilchrist, 36, called time on his career the day after becoming the record holder for most Test dismissals with 414 and will bow out after next month's triangular series with India and Sri Lanka.
"Thank God for that," joked England one-day captain and Test batsman Collingwood as he reflected on Gilchrist's decision.
"He's amazing," the Durham all-rounder, a member of the England side thrashed 5-0 in Australia during the 2006/07 Ashes added.
"From the start of his career played with freedom, expressed himself and had no fear of failure."
The Western Australia gloveman revolutionised the role at Test level of wicketkeeper/batsman with a series of blistering innings while at the same time maintaining a generally high standard behind the stumps.
He was also a dynamic one-day batsman, appearing in three straight World Cup triumphs, including last year's final where he scored a whirlwind 149 from a mere 104 balls.
But his retirement follows the recent exits of fellow senior Australia team-mates Justin Langer, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne - and even a side as good as Ricky Ponting's could struggle to replace a quartet of that talent ahead of next year's Ashes defence in England.
"His keeping was world class as well and he set the benchmark. It's been difficult for other sides to find a similar Gilchrist-type player."
Brad Haddin, Australia's longstanding reserve keeper is expected to be called up in Gilchrist's place but it will be asking a lot of whoever takes over the gloves to have the same impact as 'Gilly.'
"It depends how well the replacement does, whether it is Haddin or someone else," said Collingwood. "When you lose Warne, McGrath and now Gilchrist - they are hard to replace."
Gilchrist's impact on the world game can be gauged by how difficult it has been for England to stick with one wicketkeeper since Alec Stewart retired with Chris Read, Geraint Jones and, most recently, Matt Prior dropped because of failings with either bat or gloves.
Tim Ambrose and Phil Mustard are the two keepers England have selected for their upcoming one-day and Test series in New Zealand.
Gilchrist, whose wicket-keeping in the ongoing fourth Test against India has been criticised after some notable errors, managed to be a high-class performer with both bat and gloves for most of his 96 Tests.
His 57-ball hundred against England in Perth, one delivery short of the world record set by West Indies great Viv Richards, was one of the standout displays of the last Ashes series after Gilchrist had been a subdued figure with the bat, thanks mainly to Andrew Flintoff, during the 2005 edition.
"You know when he gets in that kind of mood he's very difficult to stop," said Collingwood of Gilchrist who, in the latter stages of his career, also became known for his practice of 'walking' when he knew he was out rather than waiting for the umpire's decision.
Gilchrist went into his final Test averaging 47.89 with the bat, with 5,556 runs, 17 centuries and a top score of 204 not out.
"It is with great pride and happiness that I make the decision to retire from Test and one-day cricket," Gilchrist said in a statement, explaining he wanted to spend more times with his wife and their three children.