Post-2005 Ashes debacle, Gilchrist now fends off retirement talk

December 22nd, 2007 - 1:35 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Dec.22 (ANI): A year ago, 36-year-old Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist felt that the Boxing Day Test of 2007 would be his last.
Tired from constant cricket and consumed by an overwhelming desire to win back the Ashes that Australia surrendered to England in 2005, Gilchrist felt then that he could not go on for much longer.
“It was very draining, I found. I don’t know if every other player felt that, but I certainly did. Internally, I built it up. It was something I felt I had to achieve after the disappointment of ‘05.
“There was such a hype and build-up and strong desire to try and win it. If we didn’t achieve what we did last year we would have all felt let down. This time last year leading into Christmas, I was as uncertain about my future as anyone,” says Gilchrist, who is widely regarded as the best wicketkeeper-batsman the game has seen, and is closing in on predecessor Ian Healys record of 395 Test victims
That has all changed.
During the World Twenty20 in September, when Australia began what will be a very long 18 months of almost continuous cricket, Gilchrist wondered with a smile how many times he would be asked about retirement.
After recharging the batteries during a welcome off-season with his family and some recent, sparkling one-day performances, retirement is further away than ever.
“I’m just really enjoying my cricket, not carrying any big expectations or pressures that perhaps I’d built up on myself last year,” he said.
“Exactly how long I’m going to play for, I don’t know. I feel like I’m in a very comfortable place and it’s time just to enjoy it now and make the most of this time,” Fox Sports quoted him, as saying.
Gilchrist considers the Boxing Day Test against India at the MCG to be a new beginning.
To mark the occasion, he will wear pink wicket-keeping gloves as a one-off to raise money and awareness for the McGrath Foundation in honour of his great mate, Glenn, and wife, Jane, who has staged a very brave and public battle against breast cancer.
Following on from the pink-handled bats that Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds first used on Boxing Day last year, Gilchrist’s five major sponsors have agreed to donate 18,000 dollars per dismissal Gilchrist claims during the Test.
If Gilchrist claims five dismissals during the Test, he will not only raise 90,000 dollars for the McGrath Foundation, but also break Ian Healy’s Australian record of 395 victims from 119 Tests.
Healy held the world record until South Africa’s Mark Boucher broke it against Pakistan in October.
Boucher has 403 dismissals from 106 Tests compared with Gilchrist’s 391 from 92 Tests.
The Australia vice-captain said he learned a lot about how to approach those records from Sri Lanka’s prolific spinner, Muttiah Muralidaran, who arrived in Australia two months ago on the verge of breaking Shane Warne’s world record of 708 wickets.
“I quite liked his honesty about when he came out to Australia,” Gilchrist said.
“He said ‘look, it’s going to happen. When it happens I don’t know.
Gilchrist has every chance of becoming the world record holder over the next six months, with Australia scheduled to play 10 Tests compared with just a handful by South Africa. However, he believes that if it happens, it will only be fleeting.
“Just as it’s inevitable I’ll get to Heals’ Australian record, even if I was to go past and catch Boucher, he’s about four years younger than me so it will be inevitable that he’ll end up finishing his career with the world record,” Gilchrist said. (ANI)

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