Category Archives: Adam Gilchrist

A Tale Of Two Australia-India Series

Back in 2007/8, Australia came to India after before a blisteringly controversial Test series to play what turned out to be an unbelievably tame seven-match ODI tournament. India lost 4-2 (with one game washed out), though it would have lost 5-1 were it not for an improbable partnership between Zaheer Khan and Murali Kartik (which ended with an ethical quandary about walking).

The current series has been far more entertaining. Back in 2007, the Australians had yet to be fully knocked off their pedestal, and they still a methodical way of dismantling opposition teams. It was a thing to behold, but not completely thrilling.

That’s all done with. If you look at the 2007 series stats, you’ll note Australia benefited largely from a solid batting line-up that has been subsequently shaken to the core. Symonds, Hayden, Clarke and Gilchrist were among the top 5 batsmen then, and all of them aren’t playing this series (and three of them won’t play internationally again). The new replacements are obviously handling themselves well (and Hussey, Ponting and Watson are in the top 5 in the 2009 series), but they’re clearly not as domineering as the 2007 foursome.

The worrying thing for India is how little it has changed. It’s been two years of “invest in the youth” strategy, and yet, the main players are still the veterans: Dhoni, Yuvraj, Tendulkar. Robin Uthappa is nowhere to be found; KD Karthik disappointed in 2007 (but may appear yet again in 2009); Suresh Raina has obvious potential but has yet to prove himself reliable; Rohit Sharma is gone, as is Irfan Pathan.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the current Indian outfit is better than the 2007 edition, but at this point, I wonder if Australia has proven better at finding and managing new talent. Let me know if I’ve gotten this completely wrong because I normally am the last person to give Australia anything by way of praise.

Stats That Prove Tendulkar’s The Best

I was never Sachin Tendulkar’s biggest fan growing up (no doubt because my grandmother, a pure Tendulkar hater, reminded me again and again of the customs duties he tried to waive on some Ferrari he bought). But Outside Edge has taken a lot of time and effort to put Tendulkar’s performance in some context. Check out the many tables and charts.

This one particularly struck me. Notice the extent of Tendulkar’s contributions in the 1990s, regularly topping above 20% of the team’s total runs. Neither Ponting nor Gilchrist, no tail-enders they, could manage the same proportion, just showing off their superior outfit. (But while we’re at it, look at Pietersen’s 2004 percentage! Incredible!)

Percentage of team runs

Tendulkar Ponting Pietersen Lara Gibbs Gilchrist Sehwag
1990 12% 6%
1991 17% 12%
1992 20% 22%
1993 12% 26%
1994 21% 14%
1995 20% 13% 31%
1996 25% 14% 30% 12% 4%
1997 14% 36% 23% 8% 17%
1998 30% 21% 22% 4% 15%
1999 19% 18% 13% 18% 15%
2000 17% 16% 17% 15% 14% 8%
2001 32% 22% 21% 17% 18% 13%
2002 23% 18% 20% 17% 15% 18%
2003 26% 20% 21% 19% 16% 15%
2004 17% 16% 46% 17% 10% 18% 11%
2005 11% 18% 29% 13% 23% 14% 13%
2006 20% 15% 19% 15% 15% 16% 12%
2007 19% 31% 19% 18% 20% 14% 14%
2008 17% 10% 21% 13% 14% 21%
2009 20% 13% 10% 17% 22%

Is Retirement Obsolete?

Given how well Anil Kumble, Matthew Hayden, Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and so on did in the 2009 IPL, should we put aside the ritual of retirement altogether?

Obviously at some point, it’s necessary, since a 50-year-old Kumble may not be as good as a 30-something one (though I recall the 1996 World Cup featuring one 47-year-old from Holland, I think). But, still, Jayasuriya’s pressing 40 and I’d hate to see the Sri Lankan team without him, and even though the Australian team claims to have moved on, wouldn’t it be so much more menacing with Matthew Hayden at its head? (And wouldn’t the English team look so much better with Mark Ramprakash in it?) Continue reading

Adam Gilchrist’s Stumping, Off Romesh Powar

During the Deccan Chargers match against Kings XI Punjab, one commentator offered a great description of Gilchrist’s stumping: “Adam Gilchrist as captain has decided to go down the track to collect the milk bottles but the door closed before he could get back.” Love it.

Which Players Will Do Well In South African IPL?

Left-arm Chinaman has a theory about the South African IPL edition:

If you are thinking about budgeting for the traditional power houses – Jayasuriya, Sehwag, Yuvraj and the like you might want to think again. While these players were massive hits in India in 2008, their records in SA are paltry when compared to their careers. Most sub continental batsmen struggle in SA so you will need to be wise in who you go for. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any good Asian players to pick from.

The Australians, South Africans and Kiwis will probably be stars at this year’s IPL because they are used to the conditions and play most of their cricket on similar wickets. All 3 teams are coming off good 2020 runs in the lead up as well.

I don’t agree: first, South African pitches have become much more “Asian” recently, as India’s tour of South Africa revealed. Second, a number of Indians played and won the Twenty20 world tournament when it was held in South Africa (as I recall, it was that victory that put the game on the map in India in the first place). Third, a number of teams have already arrived in South Africa, where they have been training. Enough time to adapt, no?

Dhoni and Sehwag’s Conflicting Averages

M.S. Dhoni just joined Rahul Dravid at the crease on the first day of the final Test between India and New Zealand. No one doubts that Dhoni is both a commanding and shrewd batsman, able to tinker his “game” to the prevailing match situation.

I do have one question, though, and this applies to Virender Sehwag as well: why do these batsmen have widely varying averages in the ODI and Test formats? Dhoni averages around 36 in Tests, a respectable number, though not that great when one considers the rest of the Indian batting line-up and Adam Gilchrist’s 47. But in one-days, Dhoni averages 49 (and for a long time, he was way over the 50-mark).

For Sehwag, the converse applies: he averages a remarkable 50 in Tests, but only 34 in ODIs. What explains this discrepancy? Dhoni and Sehwag both bat at roughy similar positions in both formats, and Sehwag’s strike-rates are roughly similar in both (high 70s in Tests; 100 in ODIs).

Isn’t this strange? Now contrast these figures with Yuvraj Singh’s, which are basically the same in both formats (36 and 37), even though Singh is widely held unsuitable for Tests but a key figure in India’s ODI side. Are mind games to blame here? Any ideas?

The Decline and Rise of Cricket Nations

Rather grand title, no? But as I was on another interminable subway ride, I started to wonder: why do some cricketing nations dominate, and others do not? And — given Australia’s recent fall — why do some decline? 

The simplest, and possibly best, answer has something to do with the quality of players. Modern cricket has known only two great teams: the West Indies, which had the reins for a frightfully long time, and Australia. Both these teams had unmatchable players, and kept producing them. The West Indies had Viv Richards, Rohan Kanhai, Malcolm Marshall, all the way down to Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and lastly, Brian Lara; the Australians — well, you know who they had. 

Once that long supply was exhausted, the team suffered, and Lara was not enough to carry it. The West Indies also missed a trick with the rise of spin, which the Indians consitently relied on, but the Australians — with one Shane Warne — took to a match-winning quality. Pace alone, and spin alone, cannot do the task; one needs both, even if Paul Harris is your one spinner (as in South Africa’s case). Australia, however, now find themselves in the same position the West Indies did in the early 1990s: gone are McGrath and Warne, and Langer and Hayden, and Lehmann and Martyn, and the Waugh brothers and Gilchrist. 

There are underlying factors behind this sudden lack of resources: Continue reading

Australian Cricket Writings

It’s a genre of its own, steadily expanding: first, there was Adam Gilchrist, and all the revelations of an un-sportsmanlike Tendulkar. Then, there was Ricky Ponting, offering another account of the Sydney crisis. And now, the main man himself, Andrew Symonds, picks up the plume and begins to write himself. Where does this all leave us?

First: Gilchrist, I think, is an idiot. Continue reading

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Another Australian Book, Another Media Storm

I swear, these Australians have way too much time on their hands. I can understand a little newspaper column here and there, but can these guys please stop putting out books every other week? Don’t they make enough money that they don’t need to put out more gossipy drivel for the sake of a quick buck? 

Maybe I should go easier on Ponting’s latest literary effort, Captain’s Diaries. He seems very careful — much more than idiot-of-the-year, Adam Gilchrist (why would you even think about attacking Sachin Tendulkar? Does he not realize how powerful the Indian market is? Does he still want to play in the IPL?). He merely says that an Indian senior player hoped that the process would not get too bogged down after the Symonds-Harbhajan affair. Fair enough.

And there is some good stuff here: Continue reading

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Macho, Macho Men: Australians Reveal Their Masculine Side

The sun never set on the British Empire, but the same cannot be said of the cricketing world, its chief colonial legacy (apart from, you know, the rule of law and all that). Already a fairly small coterie of 10 or 11 countries (depending on Zimbabwe’s mood), it doesn’t help that several members suffer from regular terror attacks and general instability, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even mother country, England.

It’s a sad state of affairs — so much for cricket’s civilizing mission — because international cricketers must regularly choose on the one hand between their safety and political ideas (especially with regards to Robert Mugabe) and playing the sport that they’re paid for on the other.

But while I don’t want to burden cricket with any more political baggage than it already has, Andrew Symonds has forced my hand. Although many on the Australian team have expressed reluctance to tour Pakistan in its current state, Symonds has been the most outspoken, joking last year about the number of bombs that form a part of daily life in that country. Even if the tour itinerary is shortened; even if security is beefed up; Symonds says he doesn’t want to go. Full Stop.

Obviously, I don’t wish harm on anybody, least of all cricketers, but Symonds — and the Australian team in general — cannot walk out of this corner without at least admitting to hypocrisy and, at the most, cowardice (Yeah! I’m calling ’em yella’, you hear!). Continue reading