Years later, the ‘Gilly’ effect is still being felt

I started watching cricket in the early 1990s, when the role of a wicketkeeper in a Test team was to be good with the gloves and contribute some useful runs with the bat.

Australia had Ian Healy, who was a brilliant keeper and also was a useful bat down the order, at a time when teams were happy with keepers contributing 20s and 30s, with the occasional 50.

All that changed on November 21, 1999.

Chasing 369 to win against a strong Pakistan at Bellerive Oval, Australia had lost half their side for just over a 100.

Justin Langer was holding up one end and Adam Gilchrist, in only his second Test having replaced Healy, came in to join him in the middle.

The Pakistan bowling attack was a strong one, comprising Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq. Even though Gilchrist had made his ODI debut three years earlier, no one could have predicted what followed over the next 24 hours.

Gilchrist scored a brilliant, unbeaten 149, Australia chased down the total, and the legend was born. For the next nine years, Gilchrist tormented bowling attacks around the world.

Gilchrist was brilliant behind the stumps too, was excellent keeping wickets to the legendary Shane Warne, and he had an amazing ODI career as an opener.

This success made teams world over realise how important the role of a good wicketkeeper-batsman can be, and in an effort to find their own version ended up compromising the primary skills of many a keeper.

The only other player who did well as a keeper in the ’90s was Andy Flower, but again, he wasn’t as destructive as Gilchrist.

Mark Boucher was brilliant for South Africa and was decent with the bat. Alec Stewart was good for England, as were Adam Parore and Dave Richardson, but none came even close to the impact Gilly had for Australia.

In the 2000s we saw Kumar Sangakkara, AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum and MS Dhoni – all brilliant for their teams – but again, none had the impact of Gilchrist.

Sangakkara and De Villiers found keeping and batting hard to combine, and gave up their gloves to concentrate on batting. Dhoni was a good keeper but was not effective with the bat overseas. McCullum played just 52 Tests as a keeper before becoming a frontline batter for his side.

From the current generation, possibly Quinton de Kock comes close, but he has a long way to go before he can be compared to the Aussie.

Gilchrist not only averaged 47.8 with the bat but also scored those runs at an enormous strike rate of 81.95 – a deadly combination that saw him turn Test matches multiple times during his career.

Adam Gilchrist set a trend that teams the world over are struggling to follow to this date.

Link to my original article

CLT20 – IPL Teams Review

Adam Gilchrist and Anil Kumble in a press conference ahead of CL T20

Adam Gilchrist and Anil Kumble in a press conference ahead of CL T20

The inaugural CL T20 began yesterday with Bangalore Royal Challengers taking on the Cape Cobras from South Africa. CL T20 has been touted as the first global domestic league and has received lots of press. The Challenger trophy event which is being played simultaneously has almost gone unnoticed. The Challenger trophy for me is more the measure of a young talent than the Bang Bash CL T20. Anyways keeping that aside lets analyze the IPL teams participating in this event and how they stack against the rest.

Bangalore Royal Challengers:

Touted as the Test X1 as opposed to a T20 team in the first edition of IPL, they surprised one and all by entering the finals in the second edition. Yesterday they played the Cape Cobras and put up a decent show. BLR scored 180 batting first only to be defeated by a great innings from Jean-Paul Duminy who remained unbeaten on 99. Bangalore team is a mix of youth and experience but very light on bowling. Yeah they have Kumble but he doesn’t bowl often these days and if they don’t choose Steyn then their bowling is pretty thin. Kallis has not had a great time with the ball in T20 and Praveen Kumar does not have the pace to trouble the batsmen in the final overs. It seems like the bowling depends too much on Steyn and Kumble. Batting wise they have some exciting talent. They have Ross Taylor, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey (Scored the first hundred by an Indian in T20) and then experience with Rahul Dravid, Kallis, Uthappa and Boucher. But when you compare BRC with the rest of the teams in the competition, it will be a surprise if they make it to the final stages.

Deccan Chargers:

They are the winners of the IPL 2 and have a balanced lineup. The team has fire power in batting as well as in bowling. The bowling has pace with Edwards and batting has Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds. They will do okay in the competition if they bat well. RP Singh has been in a really bad form which means that they have to play Vaas in his place. The spin department will be taken by Pragyan Ojha who has been great whenever he played for the country. But one thing noticed in the IPL 2 was that their bowling lacks consistency and they rely too much on Gilchrist to get them off to a flier.

They will miss Hershelle Gibbs in CLT20, who was one of the main contributors in the IPL 2 for DC. Even though they have some good youngsters in the middle order, their chances squarely rest on how Adam Gilchrist plays. That probably might be a big disadvantage for the team. Rohit Sharma off course will have to play a major role along with Venugopala Rao. I guess they have the fire power to make it to the semis, more so than BRC.

Delhi Daredevils:

Probably the best team among the three IPL entrants in the competition. Explosive batting and a good bowling lineup makes DD one of the favorites where ever they play. Batting comprises of Sehwag, Dilshan, Ghambir, Devilliers and also Dinesh Karthik. The batting is solid and the bowling also is pretty solid with Nannes, Nehra, McGrath (If he plays), and Mishra. So that sums up the squad pretty much. The batting has quality and aggression and bowling has consistency and pace. Sehwag is making a return to competitive cricket after a break and would want to get back to his groove before the all important series against the Aussies. Ghambir newly named as the captain of the Daredevils has been in fantastic form. Dilshan has been explosive over the past year and has played some blinders for SL in that period.

The bowling also has pace with Nannes, consistency with McGrath and Nehra and spin will be in good hands with Mishra. All in all DD have the best chance of reaching the finals of the three IPL entrants in this competition. They play Victoria later today and I hope that they start their campaign on a winning note.

That pretty much ends my analysis of the three IPL teams in the competition. I would have personally preferred youngsters like Kohli playing in the challengers rather than in the CLT20 but thats my opinion. I hope the youngsters in the teams take this as an experiance and pick the brains of the stalwarts they are privileged to share the dressing room with. Dhoni pretty much summed up the T20 leagues after India’s CT exit when he said “T20 should not be the yardstick for the team selection”. So I dont think this is going to help any youngster to improve their skills but can be used as a experiance to play against the best in the world.

Kumble all set to replace Mishra for Delhi test

Kumble Harbajan and Mishra during practice sessions

Kumble Harbajan and Mishra during practice sessions

The Indian coach has made it clear that Kumble will play in Delhi if he is fit. That puts an end to all speculations involving the team selection for the next test. India is all set to retain the same squad which won in Mohali with just Kumble replacing Mishra being the only change. Anil Kumble will be captaining the Indian side in Delhi where the Indians would be hoping to seal the series.

The Australians face an uphill task of keeping this series alive as the Indians have an impressive record at the Ferozshah Kotla ground. India havent lost a test match in 21 years at this ground. There has been some reports in the media that few former cricketers feel that Mishra needs to be played in the place of VVS Laxman in the team. This is a completely ridiculous call from the former players as VVS Laxman is a batsmen with a proven record against the Aussies.

Amit Mishra had a great debut game but playing five bowlers has seldom worked in India. I guess India would be better of with four bowlers as the fifth bowler is always underbowled in a test match. well the Selections apart this series is heating up with the comments from Gilchrist against Sachin and with the pressure put by the Australian media on its players. The Australian team would quickly want to erase the embarassing defeat they faced in Mohali from their memories and would like to level the series in Delhi.

All in all we can expect another great game of cricket and hopefully the Indians can wrap up the series with another clinical performance.