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Gilchrist looking to change Kings XI fortunes

April 07, 2011 18:45 IST

Endorsing India skipper M S Dhoni's view about the hectic cricket schedule, former Aussie wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist said scheduling is a "bigger issue in world cricket", which needs to be sorted out.

"Too much cricket is being played around the world. Scheduling is a bigger issue in world cricket, they (cricket administrators) need to sort it out," the 39-year-old said.

Dhoni, after leading India to the World crown on April 2, had criticised the hectic schedule, saying the crammed calendar this year will drain players both physically and mentally.

Adam GilchristHowever, Gilchrist, who will captain Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League, said the final option, whether or not to play in the IPL, rests with the players.

"Having said that (too much cricket is being played), players have an option to play IPL, unless Indian players have been told different. As a foreign player, we are invited and there is no mandatory requirement that you have to play," Gilchrist said.

The veteran of 287 ODIs also added that playing for one's nation should be the pinnacle for any international cricketer.

"Playing for your nation has got to be the ultimate inspiration," Gilchrist said, when asked if the lure of instant money and fame can at times gets too overwhelming for a player.

But he said that players want to be a part of the IPL, "they want to earn money, they want to play in the world class tournament".

KXIP have had an ordinary run so far, barring the first edition of the IPL when they made it to the semi-finals, and the newly-appointed captain said the team is looking forward to making an impact this season.

"I believe what has happened in the last three years is irrelevant now. It's the future we are looking forward to," said Gilchrist, who was a part of the Deccan Chargers outfit in the previous three seasons and had also led them to victory in IPL II in South Africa.

KXIP comprises 23 members -- with seven international, four India international players and 12 domestic players.

And while Gilchrist is all set to take over the reigns from Yuvraj Singh and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, KXIP will also see a new coach in former Australian all-rounder Michael Bevan this season.

The squad also includes David Hussey, Ryan Harris, Nathan Rimmington, Dmitri Mascarenhas, Shaun Marsh and the Indian international players Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla and Abhishek Nayar.

Asked if the IPL can spur same frenzy among fans as seen in the recently-concluded World Cup in the subcontinent, Gilchrist said cricket never ceases in this cricket-crazy nation.

"Fans are hungry for more and they want to see more of cricket. India's  victory in the World Cup has further raised the anticipation of fans, who are eagerly waiting for the IPL," he said.

Gilchrist says it is not right to call his team underdogs, the absence of iconic players in the side is not a matter of concern.

"In our team, we are all equals," he said, adding that the presence of big stars in a team does not necessarily make it the favourite automatically.

Both Gilchrist and Bevan said motivating the new team is something they are not too worried about.

On strategy they would have for Yuvraj Singh, Gilchrist said, "Hopefully, we will get him out early."

Gilchrist, who has featured in 68 Twenty20s, praised the 29-year-old dashing left-hander, saying, "He is in fine touch and full on confidence."

If Yuvraj would have the crowd support while playing in Mohali, Gilchrist said his past IPL experience has seen people supporting the domestic players all the way, particularly those international ones who play for India.

"They (India) have won the World Cup. It's a patriotic nation that wants to support its heroes. That's fine for me," he said.

Meanwhile, Bevan said it won't be difficult to motivate the team but added that it is always a challenge to coach a team that has the mix of domestic Indian players, international cricketers and foreigners.

"As a coach, you have got to be mindful of this what you have to do right to get the best out of them. It's about creating an environment so that players are able to give their best," 40-year-old Bevan said.

"For me, key focus is to increase speed of their improvement. It's not a case of if they will come through, but when they will come through."

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