Gilchrist backs Kohli's decision to bowl first

Gilchrist backs Kohli's decision to bowl first

Pakistan's triumph a positive story for world cricket, says Australian great

Gilchrist backs Kohli's decision to bowl first

Former wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist justified Virat Kohli's decision to bowl first on a flattish track against Pakistan, but confessed his preference to bat first in a final.

India, the defending champions, faced a crushing 180-run defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday. Gilchrist, who was the key member of Australia's “invincible era”, complimented Pakistan for playing near perfect cricket.

“I think it was one bad day for India, Pakistan played what seemed to be a perfect game of cricket. And India after a very, very impressive tournament just got caught out on the big final day. That can happen, we as Australians used to focus on building up in the tournament to be ready to be the best in the final,” Gilchrist, who is an Australia India Education Ambassador, said during “Australia-India Sports Partnership Meet.”

“My and Australia's general statement is they have an inclination, particularly in the final, to bat first and get the scoreboard pressure going. But I think a huge percentage of matches in that tournament in UK, the team batting second had won.

“So you have got to look at that historical component of the tournament, India are very comfortable chasing. I don't think you can criticize that decision too much. The century maker was caught off a no-ball (Fakhar Zaman). They took their chances.”

The 45-year-old Australian said Pakistan's triumph was a “positive story for world cricket.”

“Deep in your heart as a cricket lover you can’t be disappointed for a nation like that. We all know their struggles of getting any home international cricket, so they are basically a nomadic cricket team that play abroad. Perhaps that's why they were able to adjust well in those conditions,” he said.

“It was a lot like when West Indies won the T20 World Cup with all their struggles with the game and administration and participation.“

Gilchrist saw scope for the 50-over format in the future but felt it was important that tournaments, across formats, have relevance.

"I do believe there is room for all three formats. We just got to make sure competition has relevance. In a general statement, not a lot of Australians knew what was going on, what is being played (in England which hosted Champions Trophy), and why it was being played,” he said.

"I am sure everyone in India knew it was on. The greatest requirement and issue administrators face is giving matches the relevance, so supporters want to be engaged with it. They are aware of that. They are working out a Test Championship. But don't put something up for the sake of it.”

Meanwhile, Gilchrist hoped that the ensuing pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and the players would be settled soon.

“Both the players’ association and the CA, I and all players hope that it doesn't get any further.

They have got about 11 days to get it sorted before the contract period is up. I am sure they will now be working tirelessly to have that resolved,” he said.

"It is admirable that players are sticking together. I like that. I think it would take a bit of compromise from both sides to reach an agreement.”
DH News Service