Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Inexperienced Australia will be competitive - Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist says the Australia-India contest has grown its own iconic status.

Adam Gilchrist expects Australia's new-look team to remain a competitive force, starting with next month's Test series against India. Since Australia conquered their final frontier by winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2004, their losses have included Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Damien Martyn, Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie.

Andrew Symonds will also miss the four Tests and Matthew Hayden is under an injury cloud, but Gilchrist remains confident of Australia's prospects. "There's no doubt the Australian team is inexperienced in regards to what we have had for the last ten years," Gilchrist said in Mumbai. "We've always had a very experienced team.

"But that doesn't mean that these guys haven't played in these conditions before. Australia has been sending A teams and youth teams over here for a number of years to educate our players on the conditions and the facilities. The team will definitely draw on that experience and will be very, very competitive."

Australia A played two first-class games against India A over the past two weeks, with Simon Katich, Peter Siddle, Bryce McGain and Jason Krejza taking part in the tour. They are in the 15-man squad for the Tests, which start in Bangalore on October 9.

Gilchrist said the contest was shaping up as a "fantastic series". "It seems like every time the two nations have locked horns in the last ten to 12 years, it's lived up to what I think has become an iconic series," Gilchrist said. "In Australia, everyone knows the focus historically has been the Ashes, but this has grown its own iconic status."