Perth ready to give farewell to local hero Gilchrist

February 14th, 2008 - 3:31 pm ICT by admin  

Perth, Feb 14 (IANS) A packed crowd at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) ground here will give a standing ovation to Adam Gilchrist, as the retiring Australian vice-captain plays his last game at his adopted home ground here Friday.

The first time Gilchrist appeared at the ground as a Western Australia player at the WACA ground, a home crowd booed him because local hero Tim Zoehrer was axed to make way for him.

Gilchrist will make his final appearance at the famous cricket ground in the one-dayer against Sri Lanka Friday and the sell out crowd at the WACA will give him a rousing farewell when he leaves the field for the last time, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The Australian vice-captain moved to Western Australia some 14 years ago and has now become one of the legends in the game. His remarkable exploits on the field have been matched only by the spirit and sportsmanship in which he has cloaked them.

“That instilled in my own mind that I had to earn some respect, not just from my team mates but from the crowd, the members and the local community. Fortunately, they welcomed me into that set-up after some time. It is amazing how valuable that experience was once I made the transition into the Australian team because it was a case of deja vu but it was easier because I had that experience to fall back on,” said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist was referring to his Test debut at the Gabba in 1999 when the crowd booed him for replacing local hero Ian Healy.

He now has fond memories of the WACA Ground and said: “This ground holds some great memories, and I’m looking forward to one last chance to get out there and enjoy it.”

“Last year, regaining the Ashes stands out, and the (57-ball) hundred in that match was pretty special. But my fondest memories of this ground are state-based. This is the ground that gave me the opportunity to make an impression at international level.”

But Gilchrist said he did not want the emotion of his retirement to detract from Australia’s bid to win the tri-series. “It would be a hollow feeling if we lose focus and don’t finish the summer as we want to,” he said.

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