As the 4th test between India and Australia enters the 5th day, one of the game's all time greats has decided its time for him to hang up his boots. Adam Gilchrist walked into the Adelaide Oval to a round of applause that is reserved only for the best of the best.When even your rivals on field join the ceremony of ovation, you know that the person at the receiving end is a legend.Gilly is not just any other cricketer to have donned the wicket keeping gloves.He has been a trend setter as far as defining the role of a keeper is concerned.Not only that, he redefined the meaning of an all rounder-hitherto,all rounders were men who could both bat and bowl, but now it also includes the rare tribe of men who are equally adept ,whether they are in front of the stumps,or behind.As someone who started his international career pretty late(guess he was in his late twenties then), he has an astonishing record,both as a keeper and as a batsman.Very few men have charted the territory that Gilly has,for it is not everyday that you see someone with 414 victims and 5,500 plus runs at an average of around 48 per innings in test cricket.That he scaled these heights in just 10 years,and 96 tests,makes it all the more impressive. His batting was one of those sights to behold, be it test cricket or the 50 over version.A dasher to the core, people would pay to watch him play.
His oneday record is even more staggering.As an opener, he forged great partnerships with the likes of Mark Waugh and Matthew Hayden to become one of the most feared batsmen the game has ever known. Aggression was his middle name,and this is the only way he played.Never could you see him pushing or prodding around,trying to be defensive.
What makes him even more likeable is the spirit with which he played the game.The Australians are not really known for their on field behavior, but Adam Gilchrist stands out as a glaring exception in a bunch of ill mannered brats.Always the one to let his bat do the talking, very seldom would one notice him indulging in the kind of gamesmanship that the Aussies prefer to call 'mental disintegration'.Perhaps the sydney test against India was the only grey spot in an otherwise spotless career. But then to err is human. Gilly can be forgiven for that.
Bowlers and captains around the world will perhaps breathe easily when they play Australia, for they dont have to deal with this decimator.But then you wont get to see those exhilarating innings any more.Cricket stands poorer today. More than anyone else, it is the Aussie side that will miss him. Thank you, Adam Gilchrist,for all you have given us.