Posted by: nestaquin | March 21, 2008

Adam Gilchrist: Part One

Gilly & JL - Winners are GrinnersAfter three days of urgent news an opportunity has arisen to look back on the 2007/08 season. While there was enough controversy and sterling cricket to keep the most efficient writer busy for eons, there has been one topic that has been burning and churning within for a while. The retirement of Adam Gilchrist.

Since his days in junior cricket Gilly has been an unselfish cricketer and although his stats are impressive they tell only a fraction of the whole.

I was fortunate to witness Adam’s professional career from his debut as a middle-order bat for New South Wales till his final appearance in the green and gold at the ‘Gabba last month.

It should be noted that Gilly is far from finished playing cricket as he has joined the Hyderabad franchise, the Deccan Chargers, in next month’s inaugural IPL where he will join a stellar line-up that includes VVS Laxman, Hershelle Gibbs, Shahid Afridi, Andrew Symonds, Scott Styris, RP Singh and Chaminda Vaas.

So although a tad premature, over the Easter break I’d like to share my top five Gilly highlights in chronological order.

Second Test v Pakistan, Bellerive. 22nd November, 1999

In only his second Test, Gilly proved his mettle and confirmed his status as a leader, scoring a second innings 149 not out from 163 balls to miraculously steer Australia to the hefty target of 369. It was the highest winning fourth innings total in Australia and the fourth highest in Test history.

When Gilly appeared an hour before stumps on day four, Australia were on their knees at 126/5. With Justin Langer batting for his Test career (was it ever any other way), the West Australian pair produced an extraordinary partnership of 238 on a wearing two-paced deck.

Considering the Pakistan attack of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akthar and Saqlain Mushtaq was at that time the best in world cricket, Gilchrist’s exploits in this match are even the more impressive.

It was an innings of bravado and nerveless shot selection and I can clearly remember the joy on everyone’s faces as we headed to the carpark after the match.

We all knew we had witnessed something special but none of us ever imagined that a display of that calibre and character was nothing out of the ordinary for the BaggyGreen’s newest recruit.

Tomorrow: Johannesburg 2002 – The fastest double century in Test history and South Africa’s heaviest ever defeat.

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Responses

  1. Here’s the great man in 1989, fully formed as a player, decent bloke and media-friendly personality – even if the ears are just a bit Lord of the Ringish.

    Had Ian Healy not been undroppable in the 90s, how many Tests would Gilly have played? And how many runs?

    One last thing – great though Gilly is, how do you rate Sangakkara? He’s got 16 tons at 56 on all surfaces. Though he’s not keeping now and he didn’t play as many matchwinning / matchturning knocks (who did?)

    I hope they commentate together soon – that would be worth hearing!

  2. Thanks for that clip Toots and I recommend it to all and sundry that visit. It is a rare insight into Gilly as a teenager.

    Sangakkara is a delight and from what I have seen a gentleman. He wrote a lovely, genuine article about Gilly at cricinfo.

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/341025.html

    There’s a saying in Australia and it is heard in many a dressing room during summer, “Don’t die wondering”. Gilly obviously understood the wisdom in those words from an early age.

    I suppose when comparing, Kumar has a lot more responsibility on his shoulders than Adam had. Gilly was encouraged to flay the bowling. The amazing thing is he succeeded so often.

    As for Heals, he is a legend and there were many dissenters when he was dropped. They all changed their tune after Gilly’s heroics in the match described above.

    And to finish, some 99.94 symmetry.

    Bill Brown presented Adam with his cap on his debut in Brisbane. After such a long apprenticeship and with a keen sense of the history of the game, it must have been a thrill for Gilly to have Old Bill as his mentor.

  3. I love “Don’t die wondering” and it should be on Gilly’s gravestone.

    Healy was the best wicketkeeper I’ve ever seen.

    Sanga is a top bloke – I’m going to read his piece with a cold one tonight.

  4. “Top Bloke”, “Cold One”. Fair dinkum Toots, I think this constant conversing with the your suntanned brethren is having a positive effect on your expression and vocabulary!!

  5. The IPL and Shahid Afridi seem made for each other. It’s on Setanta Sports here, so I won’t be able to watch – I’ll cruise the Asian channels, but I’m not hopeful. Otherwise it’ll be youtube to catch Gilly at one end and Afridi at the other!

    Good to find you here Mimi.

  6. Afridi is hitting form just at the right time – http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/pakistandomestic/engine/current/match/341815.html


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