Sydney, Dec 6 (UNI) Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch has admitted that Adam Gilchrist must be feeling gutted with the decision to give captaincy to his younger colleague Michael Clarke for Tuesday's Twenty20 match against New Zealand in Perth.
Hilditch said anointing Clarke leader of the Twenty20 side may not have pleased Gilchrist but claimed that the dashing wicketkeeper-batsman realised that it was a necessary step aimed at future.
''It is a matter we discussed at length. We recognise it is a great honour to represent your country...,'' Hilditch said.
''Adam is of the view he would like to be captaining his country but is pleased with the initiative. It is important we have forward planning,'' he was quoted as saying by the Australian media.
Hilditch said giving Clarke the captaincy was part of Cricket Australia's long-term plans, especially for the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup.
''It is a long-term initiative, to make sure we have strong leadership whenever Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and, for that matter, Michael Hussey are no longer with Australian cricket,'' he said.
''He (Clarke) certainly has all the credentials. This is seen as an ideal opportunity in a new form of the game for him to express his individuality and learn how to lead the side.'' Meanwhile, though he has been tipped as a captaincy material for quite a while, Clarke said he was ''shocked'' when Hilditch asked him to lead the Twenty20 side.
Clarke said when he got the call from Hilditch, he was afraid that it was to inform him that he had been dropped from the Twenty20 squad.
''Normally when 'Digger' gives you a call over the phone it's for bad news,'' said Clarke, whose last captaincy experience came three years ago at the helm of Australia A.
''I thought, 'Please tell me I'm not getting dropped for this Twenty20 game'. So it certainly was a shock for me and obviously I'm over the moon and can't wait for Tuesday.