Adam Gilchrist believes the forthcoming India-Australia ODI series would be a hard-fought affair. “I would like to say 7-0 for the in-form Australia but India has often been a tough opponent at home and the series could be close,” he said here on Saturday.

The former Australian wicket-keeper batsman met the press here to promote the University of Wollongong.

Gilchrist said pace spearhead Brett Lee would be a major factor in the series. “Each time Brett gets injured, he goes back, trains harder and returns fitter and stronger,” he said.

On the promise shown by wicket-keeper batsman Tim Paine, Gilchrist said, “We have been blessed in the area of wicket-keeper batsmen. Brad Haddin took over well from me and when he is injured Paine has been delivering. He is very capable.”Harder task

He conceded Australia faced a harder task in rebuilding its spin attack. “When Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill retire within a year, it is never going to be easy. However, Nathan Hauritz is coming along nicely and Steven Smith, a leg-spinning all-rounder, is a good prospect.”

Gilchrist attributed the slump in paceman Ishant Sharma’s form to heavy workload — the Aussie feels too much cricket is being played round the year — and the burden of expectations in a nation passionate about the game.

Queried about the ‘war of words’ in some of the earlier India-Australia series, he replied the two teams had healthy respect for each other and cricket always came first. “Any India-Australia series is a special one,” he added.

The Australian great said Test cricket would always remain the premier form of the game, testing players technically, physically and mentally. “Test cricket should not be tampered with. It will survive. The other two forms of the game will generate revenue to prop up Test cricket,” he observed. Gilchirst was not in favour of day-night Tests.

On the disappointing performance of the three IPL teams in the Champions League, Gilchrist said results alone were not indicative of a team’s showing.

“We (Deccan Chargers) lost two games off the last ball. Had we won, we would have gone to the next stage with two points. Having said this, the IPL sides can also learn from the high standards set by New South Wales and Trinidad and Tobago.”

Speaking about Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, Gilchrist said, “He has a place in cricket which is next only to Sir Don Bradman.”

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