The aura of Birthday Boy Adam Gilchrist

The aura of Birthday Boy Adam Gilchrist

It would not be a hyperbole to state that Adam Gilchrist was the most thrilling cricketer to have ever graced the game.


Playing Cricket with freedom and ferocity, the presence of Gilchrist on the field often took us back to the heydays of Sir Garfield Sobers, which only further stamps the aura of the Aussie in the cricketing realm. More than the number of runs he scored or the stumpings he effected, the ruthless manner with which he achieved cricketing glory left a lasting impression. He changed the complexion of the game and rewrote how the world viewed wicket-keepers henceforth.

After the 1980s saw a peak in the form of cricket’s all-rounders, the new millennium was defined by wicket-keeper batsmen like Andy Flower, Alec Stewart, Kumar Sangakkara, Mark Boucher, and MS Dhoni. However, none of these greats managed to catch the eye of the followers with the panache that the left-hander from New South Wales exhibited. Whether it was scoring runs at a rapid rate or smashing towering sixes in a format where sixes were hardly the norm, Gilchrist left behind a legacy that left spectators and critics spell-bound and inspired.

Be it his 57-ball ton at Perth against England in 2007 or his phenomenal knock in the 2007 World Cup finals, where he raced away to 149 against Sri Lanka, his vintage stroke-making, the delectable class and the assured calmness were hard to miss and as he overhauled Ian Healy’s 395 dismissals as a keeper in 26 fewer matches, his breathtaking presence could in no way be overlooked. Playing 96 consecutive Test matches in an era where tight schedules and injuries prevailed, further made Gilchrist a phenomenon; a once-in-a-lifetime cricketer we were privileged to witness.

Gilchrist was a maverick; a magician who could delight us with the innumerable tricks up his sleeve. He was not only a special cricketer but also a thorough gentleman in a flock of uncouth individuals led by Ricky Ponting. In a culture where every umpire’s decision was questioned, the keeper started his own unique legacy of walking even before the umpire had announced his final decision. As the Indians, who were disgusted by the behaviour of the Australian players, converged as one in the controversial series in 2008 to hand Gilchrist an ovation for his services to cricket in his last Test at Adelaide, one could witness the respect that the cricketer had garnered, despite rising up from a culture where adulation for the opponent was looked down upon.

By realizing the importance of leaving the game of cricket in a better shape than he had found it, Gilchrist stood tall, questioning the snobbish attitude and the siege mentality that players around him were engulfed him. However, instead of ensuring that cricket pervaded the nonchalance, the sport has only managed to down-spiral ever since, and with the Australian cricket circuit reeling, cries for yet another Gilchrist, who would salvage cricket Down Under, has reached a crescendo.

Thus, more than his on-field demeanor – which are no less applaud-worthy, it is Gilchrist’s attitude towards the sport that won millions of fans. And for that, cricket will always be thankful.

Top 5 Wicket Keepers in Cricket History

Top 5 Wicket Keepers

Wicket keeping in cricket is a challenging role. A good wicket keeper has to be a mind reader with a lightning speed behind the stumps.


The role of wicket keeper has gone through a lot of changes. Nowadays keeping can’t be the only skill to be considered for team selection. A keeper has to be a moderate batter now. Wicket Keeper batsman is what every team looks for. This certainly gives a balance making the role more challenging for the keepers. Cricket world has seen numerous outstanding wicket keepers. We have created a list of five best of the lot.

Mark Boucher

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Mark Boucher (Photo: AP)

Mark Boucher still tops the wicket keeper dismissal list with the highest number of dismissals despite his retirement in 2012. He had in store 998 dismissals in 467 matches when he was badly injured during a practice session and his eye got affected. He could have been the first wicket keeper in the history of cricket to touch the magical number of 1000 in terms of dismissals. In his initial days of cricket career, although he made headlines against Pakistan when he accounted for 9 dismissals as a very young lad, he had tough phase too. He couldn’t read the swinging ball in his starting days. He worked hard on it and went on to become one of the best keepers in the history of cricket. This keeper batter of South Africa always supported the team with quick knocks of 30-40; he scored 5,515 runs in 147 Test matches and 4,686 in 295 ODIs.

 

Adam Gilchrist

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Adam Gilchrist (Photo: Getty Images)

Adam Gilchrist is arguably the best wicket keeper batsman of all time. He gave the role of wicket keeper- batsman a whole new dimension with his attacking stroke play. What made his keeping role tougher than others that he had to show his skill against Shane Warne, the spin machine. With McGrath, Gilchrist shared a wonderful relationship and the duo achieved 90 dismissals together. He kept wickets for consecutive 96 test matches between 1999 and 2008. This left-handed batter was one of the strongest pillars of his team for more than a decade. He was part of three World Cup victories for Australia between 1996 and 2007 with a match-winning stroke of 149 runs in 2007 World Cup final. During his time span, Australia reached the peak of success and Gilchrist consistently contributed in that. He affected a total 905 numbers of dismissals in 396 international appearances. With the bat, Gilchrist scored 5570 in 96 test and 9619 in 287 ODIs.

MS Dhoni

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MS Dhoni (Photo: AP)

It was a regular day at practice when the coach asked Mahendra Singh Dhoni to keep wickets. He wasn’t into cricket, his first love was football and he was a goal keeper in school. It is wicket keeping that helped him to make him to the national team. Dhoni kept on improving since the first day. His fabulous keeping is the reason why Parthiv Patel didn’t find a stable place, despite being a senior to Dhoni. The lightning fast stumping skill is what Dhoni excels at. Within a blink, he stumps in one swift motion. Dhoni became the first keeper to stump 100 times in ODIs in the history of the game. Since he has retired from test cricket he will probably not be able to cross Mark Boucher from South Africa and achieve 1000 dismissals. But MS Dhoni has affected 186 stumping which is the highest till date. In total Dhoni has achieved 806 dismissals in 515 matches. Former India captain Dhoni has been a successful batsman as well. He scored 4,876 runs in 90 test matches and 10,173 runs in 332 ODIs till date.

 

Rodney Marsh

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Rodney Marsh (Photo: ICC Twitter Page)

One of the finest wicket keepers of all time Rodney Marsh was interested in keeping since his first competitive match in the age of 8. But he was a better batsman than keeper and it was evident from the initial phase of his career. He was selected to the team mainly because of his batting skill. In fact, his poor keeping skill earned him the title of ‘Iron Gloves’. Rod couldn’t give up on his love of keeping and tried hard. With time he kept on improving and went on to become one of the greatest ever. Thanks to his partnership with Dennis Lillee that it gave birth to the famous phrase ‘caught Marsh bowled Lillee’. The duo contributed to 95 dismissals together. Rodney March was the first Australian wicket keeper to score a test century during 1972-73 test series against Pakistan. As a batsman, he gave stability to the lower order. Once he scored 26 runs in final over against New Zealand. In 92 ODIs Marsh scored 1,225 with a strike rate of 82.27 and in 96 test matches, he scored 3,633 runs. From 188 international matches, he contributed to total 479 dismissals.

Brendon McCullum

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Brendon McCullum (Photo: Getty Images)

Formal captain of New Zealand cricket team, Brendon McCullum discontinued wicket keeping in the last two years of his career due to his back problem. But the right handed batsman was an exceptional wicket keeper and certainly the best wearing the black cap. His fleetness behind the stumps was an asset for the team. He was the first wicket keeper batsman from New Zealand with more than 200 dismissals in one day cricket. With 453 dismissals in 432 international matches, he is certainly one of the most talented keeper and fielder ever. He lightened up the field in the first ever IPL match and scored a blistering 158, the highest T20 score at that point of time, for Kolkata Knight Riders. He had a perfect swansong when he hit a blistering 54 ball hundred, the fastest ever in test cricket with respect to balls played, against the neighboring Aussies in his final test match in 2016.

World’s Top 10 Opening Duos in Cricket

Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar

Cricket is a game in which the anticipation starts as soon as the opening duo gets on that field. A solid initial partnership can go a long way for the later part of the game. It builds the basis for the rest of the batting line-up to build upon. Here are some of the best opening duos in the history of cricket:

(1) Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar: The two Indian legends top the list as one of the greatest, if not the best, opening pairs the cricket world has ever seen. Years after their retirement, they are still praised and bowed down to for the mark they made individually and together on cricket players and fans alike. The duo played for Team India for almost eleven years, for around 136 innings and a combined total of 6609 runs. The unbeatable pair has scored 21 hundred-plus scores and 23 fifty-plus scores, clearly, they almost always took the team to a flying start. The highest score their partnership fetched was 258 runs

Image result for sachin tendulkar and sourav ganguly

(2) Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden: This Australian pair was no less as the two world-class players brought Australia onto the map for cricket. Gilchrist’s power hitting and Hayden’s pace complimented each other very well as they played for Team Australia for seven years, including 114 innings and a combined total of 5372 runs. Their highest partnership score is 172 runs. Together they scored 16 hundred plus scores and 29 fifty plus scores.

Image result for adam gilchrist and matthew hayden

(3) Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes: This West Indies duo made the headlines during the prime time of cricket in the country. West Indies was known as the ‘Team of the Gods’ and this pair were the major reason why. With their explosive contribution, they played for almost 12 years for the team for a total of 5150 runs from 102 innings. Their highest partnership score was an unbeaten 192 runs. They have 16 hundred plus scores and 24 fifty plus scores under their name. They were ahead of their time and they may have created a better name for themselves if they were playing at this time and age.

 

(4) Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar: The “Cricket God” makes the lost again but this time with a different Indian player – Virender Sehwag. They quickly became a crowd favorite with Sehwag’s power hitting and Tendulkar’s stroke play. Their deadly combination was the talk of the town for a long time as they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Playing for the team together for almost 12 years, they scored 3919 runs from a total of 93 innings. The highest score the duo has made is 182 runs and they have scored 12 hundred plus scores and 18 fifty plus scores together.

Image result for sachin tendulkar and virender sehwag

(5) Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh: Gilchrist also makes the list once more with Mark Vaugh. Mark Vaugh opened with Gilchrist before Mathew Hayden made an entry into international cricket. This Australian duo made a fine partnership, playing for about four years for the team. The period was short but their alarming total of 3853 runs from 93 innings says otherwise. Their highest partnership yielded 206 runs. They have together scored 8 hundred plus scores and 20 fifty plus scores.

Image result for adam gilchrist and mark waugh

(6) David Boon and Geoff Marsh: Another great pair for the Australian cricket team – David Boon and Geoff Marsh. Geoff Marsh switched to opening after a few years of playing in the mid-lineup and found a great partner in David Boon. The duo served their team for six years for around 88 innings and 3523 runs. The highest score their partnership has yielded is 212 runs. Together they have scored 7 hundred plus scores and 25 fifty plus scores.

 

(7) Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya: This duo created a storm in Sri Lanka that hasn’t been beaten till date. The understanding and coordination between the two were almost impossible to recreate. Atapattu played on the defensive side while Jayasuriya went ahead with the big shots. This pair served their team for almost a decade, playing for 79 innings and scoring 3382 runs in the process. Their highest partnership score is 237 runs. They have score 8 hundred plus scores and 19 fifty plus scores. 

Image result for marvan atapattu and sanath jayasuriya

(8) Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga: Finally a pair that is still currently in game. Another deadly duo from Sri Lanka, these two have made significant contributions recently in the country’s current world ranking in cricket. Dilshan is the power hitter while Tharanga plays it more safe, balancing it out between the two. They have served the team for four years and running, having played 67 innings so far in which they have together scored 3052 runs. Their highest score in a partnership has been 282 runs. They have scored 9 hundred plus and 13 fifty plus scores so far. 

Image result for tillakaratne dilshan and upul tharanga

(9) Herschelle Gibbs and Graeme Smith: This opening duo from Proteus has left-hander Graeme Smith and right-handed Gibbs giving the pair the best of both worlds. Both are not just spectacular together but also amazing individually, They have many a time provided South Africa with a solid start. They have played for the team for around seven years, consisting of 74 innings and 3007 runs. The pair’s highest score is 174 runs. They have 8 hundred plus and 13 fifty plus scores in their pocket. 

Image result for herschelle gibbs graeme smith

(10) Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar: Concluding with this opening pair from Pakistan, they have been the main strength for the team and have often won the game for them. They have served Pakistan for ten years with 73 innings and a total of 2856 runs. The highest score fetched by their partnership is 173 runs. They have scored 3 hundred plus and 20 fifty plus scores. 

Image result for aamir sohail and saeed anwar

Cricket and it’s off-field friendships!

Off Field Friendships

Cricket is a game of passion, love, energy for a lot of the cricketers, but most of all it is a game of friendships, wherein they create a bond that lasts for a lifetime. As we all know, within team India there are so many relations and friendships that have blossomed and we as fans most certainly cherish them all. However, between on-field rivals, are one of the most interesting friendships. Let us have a look!: 

Yuvraj Singh and Kevin Pieterson

Their friendship is quite a unique one. The duo’s relationship started off by dissing each other. Peterson called Singh a ‘pie-chucker’ and in return, Singh called him a ‘useless batsman’. However, to the credit of the IPL, these two players managed to forge a close bond and started spending more time off-field, eventually leading to a great friendship. Yuvraj mentioned after a test match between India and England in Chennai, that they are certainly engaged in a battle with each other on the field, however, they are close friends off-field. Even Pieterson spoke about Yuvi, calling him a ‘talented cricketer’ and how close he is to Yuvi, guarantying that he would most certainly get better and that they are constantly ‘in touch’. 

Virender Sehwag and Shoaib Akhtar 

As it is well-known to all, cricket matches between India and Pakistan are one of the fiercest and fans invest a lot of their energy screaming and cheering for their side. Naturally, Shehwag and Akhtar are considered on-field arch-rivals. Even when pitched against each other, they are ruthless and both equally great players, leaving a mark in the history of cricket. During matches, they were heated talks and exchanges between the two players leaving less doubt about the fact that they might not be getting along with each other. However, having spent so much of time on the field did leave them with a bond. Getting close to end of their careers, they inched closer and their friendship was revealed to the world to see by Akhtar when he mentioned in an interview before the all-star series that his once biggest enemy Sehwag was now a very close friend. 

Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne

Tendulkar and Warne have always retained their friendship, throughout the course of their matches. They are easily one of the best batting and bowling duos that led the audience to break into applause every time they came on-field, each being supported by their side. When pitched against each other, there were matches worth watching and extremely gripping. They both agree that the other person constantly encourages each other to perform better and are constantly in a competition with one another. Warne has visited Sachin’s house on several occasions and they have spent quality time together. They both deeply respect and cherish one another. 

Anil Kumble and Adam Gilchrist 

They can easily be tagged as having one of the most cordial relationships. Having been pitched against each other on several occasions as not left any negative impact on their relationship with each other. They have both always deeply respected each other and have had a warm relationship. Kumble himself admits that Gilchrist was a very nice and caring guy who constantly went out of his way to look out for people and he has done so on several occasions with the former.