Focus on Gilchrist in a week for big daddies

They say age is just a number, but it counts more in sports than in any other sphere of life. And the big daddies of cricket (Gilchrist included) want to make their presence count on the field. (HT Photo)

Sport, you would think, is no country for old men. But the way this week's panned out could make you pause and ponder.

Monday began with a grandfather called Sir Alex Ferguson and a 39-year-old who answers to the name of Ryan Giggs winning their 13th English Premier League title, a competition acknowledged by many as the toughest in the world, as coach and player.

Two days later, Sachin Tendulkar convinced India that there is life after 40. Around the time he was knifing cakes and acknowledging birthday wishes here, Taufik Hidayat, nearing 32, saved a matchpoint and survived in the India Open badminton championship in New Delhi.

It is not known whether Adam Gilchrist is a sucker for details but if he is, he could draw some succour from it. It's been that kind of a week.

Keeping the faith
Question is: will Gilchrist keep the faith in himself or will he do a Ricky Ponting? Kings XI Punjab coach Darren Lehmann gave little away - he didn't even name the two players who, he said, are dealing with niggles - but said Gilchrist has led very well and kept very well.

The man himself batted for long at the nets trying to get his timing right. At 41 and off cricket for most of the year, even a genius needs time for that. Whether Gilchrist plays at the venue where he lost his first-ever Test having been part of an Australia team that won the first 15 he played, we'll know by Friday evening. But even if he does not, the teams have an even spread of big daddies to take this trend forward.

Age no barrier
Azhar Mahmood, Gilchrist's batting partner at the nets on Thursday, is one. He celebrated turning 38 in February. And at 36, Mahmood's teammate David Hussey has already shown in this competition that age has nothing to do with scoring more than a run every ball. His older brother Michael too does that for a living.

The jury was still out on whether Jacques Kallis will recover from a knee injury that kept him from bowling against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday. Kallis will be 38 this year, has been playing international cricket since 1995 but is possibly still the first name after Gautam Gambhir that the Knights pencil in.

If Kallis doesn't play, it is possible Brett Lee will. Lee is 36 and this season has been more a bowling mentor than a tormentor in the middle but having taken a wicket with the first ball of this edition's competition, he would want to show that he is some time from drawing a pension.


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