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I’m a bit of a rebel and speak my mind, says Warne

Calcutta: Spin legend Shane Warne tried to set his frosty relationship with Adam Gilchrist straight, admitting that they haven’t seen eye-to-eye on a number of issues but he has respect for the Australian wicketkeeper.

“The beauty of a team sport is that everyone is different and has different personalities and needs.

“Gilly is one of those nice people and is everyone’s friend, and I suppose I’m a bit of a rebel… Speak my mind and don’t sit on the fence, so we did not always see eye-to-eye. To some people that means we hate each other. Rubbish again,” Warne said.

Reacting to the retired leg-spinner’s remarks about the Australian Establishment’s “arrogant mindset,” Gilchrist had said on Sunday: “Wearing the Baggy Green teaches you to show respect… It’s an elite club… After retirement, some have lost showing respect… There’ve been comments right through the week and one is a bit sick of them…”

But Warne maintained in his column for a local newspaper Herald Sun that “Gilly and I are not best mates… but that does not mean we are not friends, or buddies. We are friends.”

“Let’s set the record straight on a few issues. Yes, I sledged Gilly early on in his career to see what he had. He was not alone in that club. Gilly has never spoken to me about it, so to me there is no issue on that one.

“Yes, Gilly took over as vice-captain. We spoke about it at the time and standing at first slip next to him we spoke about lots of stuff. Once again, no issues. I ranked Gilly in my top 50 as the second-best wicketkeeper behind Heals (Ian Healy); out of all the people I played with and against, it’s a tough call to say I did not rate him.

“Yes, I think Michael Clarke should be the permanent vice-captain and replace Gilly, because shortly Gilly will play only one form of the game and we want to prolong his Test career as long as possible. That’s a decision that is based on planning for the future and what’s best for Australian cricket, not a personal attack,” Warne said.

Gilchrist also came down heavily on Ian Chappell who had ridiculed Australia’s last coach John Buchanan. But Warne felt Gilchrist “should be sent to the headmaster for six of the best.”

“Every player owes the honour of playing for Australia to Ian. He stood up for what he believed in and took a risk. He helped save the game of cricket worldwide. He stood up for every cricket player and fought for better conditions for the players with regard to schedules, the players’ association, pay and so on, and as far as captaincy and learning the game goes, there is no one better than Ian Chappell to talk to,” Warne said.

About the Boxing Day Test, Warne was expecting a strong challenge from India. “I think Australia will win the first Test but India will fight and challenge as the series goes on. A gut feeling says this series will be a ripper,” he said.

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