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Gilchrist doesn't want to lose the fun


Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist hopes the seriousness of playing for a world title won't take the fun out of Twenty20 cricket.

The Australian team - minus skipper Ricky Ponting (family reasons), Shane Watson (hamstring injury) and Stuart Clark (ill son) - flew out from Sydney to South Africa for the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship, with Gilchrist admitting he was unsure what playing for a major trophy would do to the entertainment value of the bash-and-barge format.

"I think there is a little bit of unknown as to what's going to happen," Gilchrist said.

"We've tasted Twenty20 cricket, and it's been a real entertainment package, but in every game we played there's never been anything up for grabs.

"It's almost been like an exhibition game if you like.

"It will be interesting to see the dynamic of the tournament and the teams and their approach, and I've no doubt that once we get there, and given that there's a world title up for grabs, it will get serious. But I do hope the entertainment factor stays.

"I would encourage everyone to try and embrace that entertainment part of the game."

While Twenty20 cricket has been played domestically around the world since 2003, there have been only 16 Twenty20 internationals since Australia beat New Zealand in the first match in February 2005.

That number will almost be tripled by the time the inaugural Twenty20 champion is crowned in Johannesburg on September 24, with 27 games to be played over the two-week tournament - not including the 10 warm-up games which will be played this weekend.

Most Twenty20 internationals have so far been one-off games, tacked on to the start or finish of one-day series, but Gilchrist admits that may change depending on the tournament's success.

"I think world cricket will have a clearer understanding of how serious, how much we need to play Twenty20 cricket and what role it will have in the cricket calendar (by the end of the tournament)," Gilchrist said.

"I don't know necessarily if it will be the be all and end all of Twenty20, but I do think it's here to stay for a number of reasons ... and it may be a case of, if Twenty20 cricket continued to grow, it might limit the 50-over game to a certain extent, with the need to tailor the program to fit both in."

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