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Gilchrist announces retirement from Tests

Special Correspondent

Adelaide: Adam Gilchrist, who redefined the role of the wicketkeeper-batsman, has retired from Test cricket.

The shock announcement came a day after he broke the record for the most Test dismissals and said he “might retire tomorrow or after 12 months”.

The current Test against India at the Adelaide Oval will be the last time this truly great cricketer — termed a once-in-a-generation cricketer by Steve Waugh — entertains the fans. Gilchrist will retire from one-day international cricket at the conclusion of the forthcoming Commonwealth Bank tri-series tournament. Saturday’s announcement will also see an end to his career with Western Australia and Perth Cricket Club. “It is with great pride and happiness that I make the decision to retire from Test and One-day cricket” said the 36-year-old, who told his team-mates on Saturday morning.

Moving to next phase

“I’ve come to this decision after much thought and discussion with those most important to me. I am now ready and excited to move into the next phase of my life which will, of paramount importance include much more time with Mel, Harrison, Annie and Archie.”

Gilchrist recalled an earlier era with the way he played his cricket. A wonderfully uninhibited striker of the ball, he could turn a Test match in a session. He announced himself in Test cricket in a miraculous chase against Pakistan at Hobart. His high-on-the-handle batting grip was emulated across the cricketing world. Barring his recent struggles with both bat and gloves, he rarely looked careworn. Matthew Hayden said Gilchrist would be “deeply, deeply missed”. “He is one of the greatest to have ever played the game,” said Hayden.

“He was incredibly positive and his flamboyant nature equals the greats of Viv Richards and other calypso characters over the years. He entertained everyone globally and has done it in a statesman-like way. He changed cricketers throughout the world and is a tremendous individual.”

It will please Gilchrist to finish his career atop the table of the game’s leading Test wicketkeepers, having taken his 414th dismissal during India’s first innings. For, he has maintained that his first love was keeping wicket. Gilchrist’s singular Test match career has included the second fastest ever Test century (off 57 balls) in history against England in December 2006 in Perth. In all, he has scored over 5000 Test runs including 17 centuries and 26 fifties (at the time of the announcement). His 17 Test centuries is a record among wicketkeeper-batsmen. He has also hit more sixes than any other batsman in Test history, recording his hundredth six during the Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart in late 2007. Gilchrist captained Australia in six Test matches, including leading Australia to an historic series victory in India in 2004, when Ricky Ponting was sidelined by injury.

Gilchrist’s record in one-day cricket is equally impressive. A three-time World Cup winner, he passed 50 in every final he played. In April 2007, Gilchrist lit up Kensington Oval in Barbados with 149 from 104 balls in the final. He also holds the ODI dismissal record with 454 dismissals in 277 ODIs (401 caught, 53 stumped).

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