Vol. 5 Num 117 Sun. September 19, 2004  

Kind Gilchrist

Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist can be described as a friend of Bangladesh because he is not frustrated by the way the Tigers have performed in their last two one-day competitions.

"It's a common trend that people don't want to take account of the good results when a team is struggling. I think it is totally unfair," said the 33-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman while talking with a few Bangladeshi reporters at the Royal Garden Hotel lobby here on Friday.

The devastating left-hander and arguably the most exciting member of the all-conquering Australian side offered words of encouragement to the battered Bangladesh team that bowed out of the ICC Champions Trophy last week after conceding crushing defeats against South Africa and West Indies.

"Bangladesh had some good series, they even played tremendous cricket in Australia. What's wrong if they played one or two bad series? Even top teams sometimes face such difficult periods," said Gilchrist.

"If I am not wrong Bangladesh beat Australia in the Under-19 World Cup. It is a clear indication of the real potentiality in the country. You just need five to six years to become established as a competitive side on the world stage," he said.

Gilchrist believes that a generation of players will come through within five years.

"Participation of people in Bangladesh is excellent and I saw there was a huge interest in the game in your country. People love the game and played the game everywhere, so there is no reason to think otherwise," he hoped.

The experienced cricketer now suggests that Bangladesh need to have a balanced side with senior and junior players.

"They are very young to handle international pressure. Here you need a fine balance because there is no alternative to experience to take up the challenge in international cricket," he said.

"But I am hopeful because you have a coach like Dav Whatmore. Maybe progress is slow but I believe Dav will be successful with the Bangladesh team but not without a lot of hard work and proper planning."

The Australian observed that Bangladesh's batsmen hardly have any technical faults. "I saw them closely from behind the stumps. I didn't find any major technical faults in their batting. I only think they lack mental strength," he said.

Like his teammates Gilchrist too is eagerly waiting to face India in India next month.

"We love to play in the subcontinent. It is always difficult to face the sub continental teams on their home soil but that's the challenge," he said.