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Many critics and cricket enthusiasts name Adam Gilchrist as the best batsman and wicketkeeper the sport has ever had. It is important to note that, apart from his incredible track record, his popularity among the millions of fans around the globe comes from the way he played the game. His statistics clearly mark him as one of the greatest players of his generation, but he embodied the integrity and values that many cricket enthusiasts thought had left the game.
Career and Achievements
Adam Gilchrist made his bow on the international stage by replacing the injured wicketkeeper of the Australian team, Ian Healy. This marked his opening One Day International (ODI) where they faced South Africa in India, in the year 1996. He announced himself at this stage by dismissing Hansie Cronje for a duck after making his first catch. Healy returned in the 1996-97 season, later Gilchrist played in the first two ODIs as Australia toured South Africa in 1997. He upheld his position in the squad after their batsman got injured. This series gave Gilchrist his first ODI half century and 77 innings in Durban. His position in the team was not in any threat as the selectors preferred to select different teams for Test cricket and ODIs.
The Australian Team toured New Zealand in 1998, and it is here that he achieved his highest average of 50, no other Australian batsman had attained this fete. He became the first batsman in cricket to score 100 sixes in a test match. In the 1999 World Cup, he developed into one of Australia’s key players even though he had shown some struggling signs earlier. The player was moderately successful in his first Test matches but his highlight moments began when he made 272 runs at 27.20 as Australia beat India.
He was excellent in their New Zealand tour, where he was named the man of the match in both games. He continued this trend in the year 2001 as he recorded the 3rd best performance by a wicketkeeper (after of course Sobers) and the best by an Aussie. He took the captaincy later that year after Steve Waugh sustained an injury as Australia toured West Indies and after they had won that match with him as captain, he described that moment as his best ever. In the 2001 Ashes series, Adam Gilchrist produced one of his best displays and inspired his team to win the series by 4-1.
He picked up 8585 runs in 257 matches in One Day Internationals, averaging about 35.26. He made 172 runs in their ODI against Zimbabwe to mark his highest tally. In international cricket, he notched 17 test and 15 One Day International centuries; he also picked up 50 half centuries. He is the only wicketkeeper to have captained the Australian national team; he also has the fastest century as they faced England in 2006. Gilchrist has won numerous awards that culminated with him voted as the 9th best all rounder of the century in the year 2007. After setting a new record for the highest dismissals in 2008, he announced his retirement.