Australian cricket can be divided into 2 stages: BG and AG. Before Gilchrist and After Gilchrist! Such is the impact made by this go-getter, and his contribution to a whole lot of cricketing records has been unique.
Glee gloves for a gleeman make a glove man who is glee while he is gloved! Well that’s a tough tongue twister, no doubt, but lets talk more about the best wicketkeeper of all time, the Guile Gilchrist. Ever enthusiastic and cheerful, cheering on his team mates that’s what makes this wicket keeper tick on and make the team do ever so well. Once a player dons the wicket keeper’s gloves, it seems it is forever, especially if the wicket keeper is an opener.
Adam was selected to replace an aging Ian Healy in 1996 only for the ODIs when Australia toured India. He played not so badly but did not really make a lot of runs, but with Healy not playing the ODIs, he was drafted as the favourite for the keeper’s slot. He got his first test cap only in 1999-2000 when Pakistan toured Australia. His selection was questioned, but he sealed his critics’ lips with a blistering 81 on test debut. It was aggressive right from the word GO. The right Innings at the right time, when Australia needed those quick runs in that game. Ever since he has never looked back, be it with the gloves behind the stumps or in front of it.
If Gilchrist was asked to back track and take control of all the records he has set over these years, heads will spin like a Shane Warne Delivery! He has created so many records that its going to take decades to even come near some of them:
Records Galore: (As of 28/09/04)
- Highest strike rates for wicket keepers in any form of the game: 82 in tests and 94 in ODIs.
- Highest score for a wicket keeper in ODIs: 172 vs Zim in 2003
- Most Centuries by a keeper: 10 in tests and 10 in ODIs
- Fastest double hundred by a keeper: 204* against South Africa at Johanesburg (for a brief time he had the record for the fastest test hundred by any batsman until Nathan Astle blasted England!)
- Quickest test hundred against India in tests: 84 balls in the Mumbai Test (2001), when Australia won their sixteenth Consecutive test. (Happens to be third fastest ever in Indian soil after Kapil Dev’s and Azhar’s 74 ball hundreds!)
- Maximum number of victims in ODIs: 285
- World record for Maximum Dismissals in an ODI : 6
It was the Semi-Final of World Cup 2003, and Adam Gilchrist was facing Aravinda De Silva of Sri Lanka. Adam edged one ball from A de Silva to the keeper. The Umpire Mr. Rudi Koerzten did not hear the nick and declared Adam not out. Gilchrist however, knowing he was out, started walking. It was a truly inspiring act. He upheld the Spirit of the Game with his noble action.
Really nobody expected him to walk, but he did. And that match being the World Cup Semi Final, it was a shock, yet a surprising act. This is why this game is called the Gentleman’s Game! Imagine if Australia had lost the game, surely Gilchrist would have been blamed. Luckily Australia packed off the Lankans.
One cannot pick Gilchrist’s ODI innings, one can’t pick one innings to be the best; they are all aggressive. For him, batting simply means thumping the ball, with the finest of ease. Coming in as opener, slam bang, fierce cuts, pulls all are typical Gilchrist stuff. The aggression, the passion and the immersion of the bowlers under a tub of water every time they bowl to this southpaw are the normal things that happen. He makes things happen, does this Dasher!
The game just never ceases to lose interest when this guy is around. He is so good that people flock to see him play. Last time, he played in Indian soil, he stamped and packaged the Indian Bowlers at Mumbai in the First Test, back to the post office with a classy hundred. Sadly he did not mesmerize again in that series. The only chink in his armory is playing spin. He is suspect in that regard. But knowing Gilly, he will surely come up trumps in that area too. He will be working hard to tackle the Spinners.
This time around, he has the launch pad for a perfect super stint with the bat and behind the stumps, and an added new responsibility: Ponting’s injury means he is the Stand In Captain for the first test!
Well he will surely sizzle, we are all sure of that! Looking forward as much as you are for that fun fare with this great son of Australia!