Gilly walks backThe problem with watching a fabulous generation of cricketers for a decade is that now each year, we're having to say goodbye to some of them. The likes of Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Damien Martyn bowed out last year. It hasn't been even a month into 2008, and it's time to start saying thanks to Adam Craig Gilchrist.
Gilchrist was among the few sportsmen I watched without reference to match, situation, conditions, or outcome. There was no difference between highlights or live matchplay - they were all the same to me, a chance to watch one of the finest perform. Stay Around and Cheer, Artist at Work. He walked in briskly, he did not hang about when out (wrongly or otherwise), he jumped up in glee after diving for catches, he could whip off bails even facing the Sheik of Tweak. Balls regularly found their way to midwicket or point, usually smacking hard into the advertising boards. His brand of entertainment needed no advertising.
The decision to retire is not completely surprising, with the Aussie keeper facing justifiable criticism for his woes behind the wicket in this series. Morever, his bat has been mainly silent. It's a fine move from him, to go out at a time and place of his choice. It'll mean not making it to the 100 Tests mark, but in this case, his contribution to the game, not just Australian cricket or just wicketkeeping, transcends numbers.
From Hobart to Mumbai to Perth, to second-fastest hundreds and doubles, to a world-record 400+ dismissals with the glove, to 100 Test sixes, to being an opener at number 7 in Tests to being an opener at number 1 in ODIs, to congratulating others on their milestones to never taking a backward step. Thanks!