Monday, 18 October 2010

THHOF - Adam Gilchrist

Name: Adam Gilchrist
Nicknames: Gilly, Churchy, G Man, Eric Gilchurch
Born: November 14, 1971, Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia
Teams: Australia, Deccan Chargers, ICC World XI, Middlesex, New South Wales, Western Australia

Adam Gilchrist is my second inductee into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame because he is a man who redefined the role of a wicket-keeper batsman. Every keeper now operating in world cricket is judged by Gilly's yardstick, which is testament to his abilities, and difference he made to world cricket. As well as being one of cricket's all-time greats, he's also an all-time great bloke, which I found first hand when working for Middlesex last summer. Gilly's professionalism and obvious class was mixed with his friendliness and willing to chat with anyone. I can honestly say he's the best cricketer to ever remember my name or smack me heartily on the back (no offence OB!). A signed picture of Gilly with me hangs in a prized position on my wall, and in some sort of way of repayment, he's coming in to the TH Hall of Fame.

A promising wicket-keeper, Gilchrist made his first class debut in 1992 (incidentally the year I was born... in case you were interested) for New South Wales, after spending time on a scholarship to Richmond Cricket Club in Middlesex. Playing solely as a batsman, Gilly was part of the NSW team that won the Sheffield Shield that season, but due to a lack of opportunities, he moved on to Western Australia for the start of the 1994 season. After leading the way in dismissals of opposing batsmen for Western Australia, Gilchrist's brutal 189* in the 1996 Sheffield Shield Final brought him to national prominence.

Gilly got his chance for Australia later that year, after regular keeper Ian Healy picked up an injury. Put into the ODI side for a tour of India, Gilchrist retained his place in the side after Healy's return - playing as a specialist batsman. After eventually displacing Healy as wicket-keeper, Gilchrist was promoted to open with Mark Waugh, and scored his first international century in his second game as opener, against South Africa at the SCG.

A large part of the ODI side coming into the 1999 World Cup, Gilchrist struggled slightly, but was part of the victorious Australian side. Gilchrist's overall form, and the decline of Ian Healy meant Gilchrist was given his chance as a test player later that year at home to Pakistan, and scored his maiden test hundred in only his second game. In Gilchrist's first 16 tests, Australia won all 16; a world record.

Gilchrist retained his position, and began making his mark on world cricket. The Ashes were won in 2001 and 2002/3, as well as a World Cup in 2003. Gilchrist broke Ian Botham's record for the fastest test double hundred (off 212 balls) against South Africa, and at one stage had a test average of over 60. While Gilchrist struggled as Australia lost the Ashes in 2005, he was in full flow as they were regained down under the following winter. Another World Cup victory in 2007 (Gilchrist won every World Cup he played in), and made an astonishing 149 off 104 balls as Australia beat Sri Lanka in the final.

On 26 January 2008 during the Fourth and final Test of the 2007-08 series against India, Gilchrist announced that he would retire from international cricket at the end of the season. A back injury kept Ricky Ponting off the field for sections of the Indian's second innings, resulting in Gilchrist captaining the team for the part of final two days of his Test cricket career. India batted out the match for a draw, so Gilchrist’s 14 in the first innings was his final Test innings, however he did take his 379th and final catch when Virender Sehwag was caught behind. Not a bad way to bow out of test cricket. After a series of farewells in the following ODI matches, Gilchrist played his last for Australia.

Following his international career, many assumed Gilchrist's cricket career was over. However, signed by IPL side Deccan Chargers (who invited Gilly to captain them), Gilchrist was named Player of the Tournament as he led Deccan to victory in IPL 2, in 2009. Following this, he was signed by Middlesex for the FPt20 this year; appointed as captain, and scored a brutal hundred against Kent (as well as captaining his new side against the touring Australian team).

A true legend of cricket, and a top-class bloke, Gilly is respected all around the globe. Reknowned as a "walker", Gilly would often walk even if not given out - something some of his teammates could have learnt from. In 2010, Gilchrist was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to cricket and the community. But surely the highlight of his career is today - as he is inducted into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame! Welcome in Gilly!


A Very Youthful Gilly at Richmond CC back in 1989!

Gilly's Retirement Feature for Aussie TV

Fans of the Short Midwicket are shocked as Will's not-so-secret identity is revealed. Also pictured Hall of Famer Adam Gilchrist.

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