Gilchrist defends embattled Ricky Ponting

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011, 11:45 AM IST

Melbourne: Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who was a deputy to under-fire current skipper Ricky Ponting, on Wednesday jumped to his defence saying the beleaguered batsman is the best the country has produced after the legendary Sir Don Bradman.

Ponting`s future both as captain and player is under a cloud following his poor run with the bat in the ongoing World Cup in the sub-continent but Gilchrist said the right-hander has done enough for the country to deserve a run beyond the recent slump.

"But I do know that in 1999 when there were rumors that Steve Waugh was told he would lose the captaincy if we bowed out of that World Cup, he scored one of the great World Cup hundreds ever against South Africa and we went on to win the World Cup," Gilchrist said.

"Maybe this is the inspiration Ricky needs."

Australia take on India in the World Cup quarterfinal tomorrow and a loss for the three-time defending champions would add to the speculation about Ponting`s future.

Gilchrist served as Ponting`s deputy before retiring in 2008.