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There’s respect in rivalry: Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist, in New Delhi, on Monday

New Delhi: Sparks fly whenever India and Australia clash on the cricket field but Adam Gilchrist does not see the need to curb the aggression.

“(It’s) a great rivalry and I think when it gets so aggressive in the sporting arena, it’s a sign of respect.

“You feel threatened by an opponent so you play harder and it might lead to heated confrontation,” Gilchrist said while talking about the four-match Test series starting February 22.

“...That’s a sign of ultimate respect...but I have learnt that what might be acceptable in one culture might be frowned upon in another,” he added.

Gilchrist said India’s recent poor Test run, including the recent home debacle against England, can be seen as an opening for the Australians, who are also enduring a transition phase.

“All top two-three teams in the world are evenly matched. They can beat anyone on any given day. England have challenged India in India so there is an opening here for Australia. I am sure it would be a terrific series,” Gilchrist said.

“India have always been a difficult place to tour for any cricket nation,” added the 41-year-old, who was here for the launch of an app-based magazine that celebrates trade and cultural relations between the two countries.

Gilchrist said over the years, the visiting Australian sides have focused primarily on fast bowling even though spinners hold the key in Indian conditions.

“Spin component is always important in India. Back in 2004, Shane Warne played a huge part but we had an attack more focused on pace bowling and utilising the condition.

“It will be interesting to see what Australian team is selected and how they cope in these very trying conditions,” he said.

On Sachin Tendulkar, who is in the twilight of his international career, Gilchrist said the Indian great’s retirement would be a significant moment not only for his fans here but also Down Under.

“The respect and admiration for him is unchallenged in world cricket. The Order of Merit for him late last year signifies the manner in which he is held in Australia.

“If indeed it turns out to be his last series or whenever he finishes, there will be a great deal of respect paid to him from Australia,” he said.

Gilchrist has been included in the Kings XI Punjab franchise's initial squad for IPL-VI. Though Gilchrist has been their captain-cum-coach for the last couple of seasons, he had said at the end of IPL-V that he had probably played his last game.

Recently, the legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batsman said that he would, in all likelihood, be participating in IPL-VI too.

"The franchise has included me in the playing list, so there is a likelihood I'll be back for IPL-VI. We are getting our strategies worked out, let us see how things shape up," Gilchrist had said in December. (Agencies)