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Adam Gilchrist — the gentleman cricketer


A batsman walking back to the pavilion before the umpire has given his verdict is a rare sight these days. Even when batsmen know there was a faint nick to the wicketkeeper or the bat-pad catch has gone to the close-in fielders, they would hardly walk and try to thrive on umpires' errors.

There are some batsmen who feel that such acts only neutralise things like the umpire's decision going against the batsman when he is not out.

In contemporary cricket, Adam Gilchrist is perhaps the only batsman who would be half way to the pavilion even before the dreaded finger is raised. When retirement was enforced on the great wicketkeeper Ian Healy in both versions of the game, we saw a smooth transition with yet another gentleman cricketer Adam Gilchrist taking over. This sincere cricketer, who brutalises opponent bowlers, is one player who upholds strong values on and off the field. Be it socialising and greeting the opponents and public off the field or at the time of fierce competition on the field, his impeccable manners has undoubtedly made him the true ambassador of the game.

Sometimes I wonder how Adam Gilchrist performs and achieves success so consistently. It is only the honest intent and the enduring commitment to the game that has elevated this man to great heights. In cricket, wicketkeepers are probably the ones who are involved with each and every ball. Gilchrist's endless energy behind the stumps keeps on encouraging the rest of the players in the team and the intensity with which he bats does more than just the dual role to the team's cause.

With so much at stake, a victory these days means too much for the team, players and even for the fans. But my experience of playing against Gilchrist (or watching him on TV) is that I can't recall a single incident where I found him abusive or unreasonable for the sake of winning. In fact, he has always been a role model for fellow cricketers.

On Tendulkar

The endless debate on Sachin Tendulkar's fitness has filled the media in the past few weeks. It's quite natural that 15 years of international cricket has taken a heavy toll on him. The balls bowled at great pace thudding his bat day in and day out, the running between the wickets and the 360 degree turns for the second and the third run and most important, the psychological stress to live up to the expectations have all contributed to his lay off from cricket.

Being an integral part of Indian cricket for many years, Sachin still remains India's number one batsman. Although the emergence of Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag has added a new dimension to Indian batting, in the end, it is still powered by Sachin Tendulkar.

Under the watchful eyes of the physiotherapist Andrew Leipus, Sachin has recovered. In my opinion, he could have spent some time in one of those Sports rehabilitation centres abroad. Though Leipus has done his best with the available resources, India is still far behind when it comes to sports medicine.

Living in and out of hotel rooms and away from the family all these years and the yearning for the emotional comfort at home could be one of the reasons why Sachin has decided to stay at home. Sachin playing for India is important but his spending time with the family is also a matter of equal importance. More than the healing of the tennis elbow, striking a balance between his personal life and cricket is what he most needed.

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