Gilchrist still world-class batsman, says Ponting

Melbourne: Ahead of Australia`s match against Middlesex, captain Ricky Ponting has said that retired wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist is still a world-class batsman capable of destroying high-quality attacks.

The game against Middlesex is Australia`s last warm-up match before taking on England in the first of five one-day internationals in Southampton on Tuesday.

Ponting said he was bracing for a destructive performance from Gilchrist, who is captaining the English county side Middlesex.

Gilchrist, who retired from international cricket in early 2008, still plays the shortest form of the game and smashed a 47-ball century against Kent in England`s domestic Twenty20 competition last week.

"Gilly`s just one of those guys with an unbelievable eye and an unbelievable ability to come out and strike the ball," The Age quoted Ponting, as saying.

"Hopefully he has one of those first or second-ball ducks tomorrow and doesn`t stay around for too long," he said.

Ponting said he had no doubt Gilchrist could still be a force on the world stage had he not retired to spend more time with his family.

"When you feel that you`re not playing as well as you`d like to play, you have to go the extra yard sometimes to get that back," he said.

"I know he said at the time when he retired that he felt he didn`t have it in him to push himself as hard as he needed to play at his best and that`s the reason he retired when he did," Ponting added.



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