It is a big challenge for Clarke: Gilchrist

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2011, 22:09 PM IST

New Delhi: Former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist feels it would be a big challenge for Michael Clarke to lead the country after Ricky Ponting stepped down from the post following its quarterfinal exit in the World Cup.

According to the Kings XI Punjab captain, Clarke looks to be tactically sound and has a good understanding of the game but said it would all boil down to handling pressure on and off the field.

"Clarke is a tactical captain. He has a good understanding of the game. But it is a big job and it would be a challenge for him to understand the full responsibility of leading a team on the field and also to deal with things off the field," Gilchrist told reporters on the eve of his team`s IPL match against Delhi Daredevils.

"Also to deal with the pressure when his own performance comes under scanner. But he looks excited and desperate to do well and I wish him all the best," he added.

Punjab have won three games on the trot after losing the initial two and one of the factors behind the turnaround has been Paul Valthaty, who is leading the run charts with 247 runs at 82.33.

Asked if he sees the 27-year-old making it to the Indian team in near future, Gilchrist said if he can maintain his consistency on the field and composure off it, he will surely earn more success in future.

"I don`t know what Team India is planning, I mean they will tour West Indies and there are expectations of people. Paul is trying hard to do well, he is working hard and he has a very calm approach. If he doesn`t get flustered by the adulation and can maintain his approach, it will surely lead him to more success," Gilchrist said.

The Sri Lanka cricket board`s demand that national players involved in the IPL return to prepare for the England tour has reignited the club versus country debate and Gilchrist said for him country should always be the priority.

"Country should always be priority in my opinion. IPL is an Indian domestic competition which we are very fortunate to play as International players but if your country wants you to play then that should always be the priority and its upto the individual and country to decide how they want to go about it," the 39-year-old said.

PTI