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The sandalwood farmer

chandigarh Updated: Apr 12, 2012 16:15 IST
Vivek Gupta

After retiring from international cricket in 2008, Australian left-handed batsman and record-breaking wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist or 'Gilly' as he is fondly called, carried strong Indian projections on his mind, apparent in the business he pursues and the food he loves to eat.

In the city along with his family for IPL season 5, Gilly, who is the coach of Kings XI Punjab, is happy to divulge the action in his life off-field and his many loves.

On harvesting sandalwood
Even in his miles-away home in Australia, Gilly can smell fragrant sandalwood. So taken was Gilly with the woody aroma that is so quintessentially Indian, that he set up 6,000 hectare sandalwood farms in Kimberley, western Australia, which also have a processing unit.

With 40-year-old Gilly being the director of Tropical Forestry Services - his Australian company - he declares with immense pride about being the largest producer of Indian sandalwood outside India. "India is a compelling country and I am happy that the Indian sandalwood has extended my relationship with this country beyond cricket," he says.

He now looks forward to the first commercial harvest of 'the world's finest fragrant woods' at his farm, which they have been nurturing for the past 14 years and which will now be exported to Europe and other foreign markets.

Indian aromas
There are other Indian fragrances that are on Gilly's mind and which are related to Indian food and curries. A self-confessed fan of Hyderabadi biryani, Gilly shares, "Among Asian foods, I think I love Indian food the most." However, as much as he likes to eat, Gilly says he's 'really bad at cooking', a department that his wife takes care of.

While Gilly has no major hesitations in facing the camera, his teammate, David Hussey, has some fear. "I feel nervous when I face the camera," divulges the right-handed Australian batsman. Apart from this fact, David's interests are similar to Gilly's, with his loves including spending quality time with family and savouring rasgullas and dal makhani.

The family man who has fun being a father
At the shoot of a television commercial on Wednesday, where Gilly was accompanied by teammates David Hussey and Piyush Chawla, Gilly mentioned being a complete family man. "Off field, I love to spend time with my kids and family," he says.

Married to his high school sweetheart, the cricketer is the father of four children, who are all in India with him. "Except for my elder son, the others have come to India for the first time. They are all very excited to be here," he smiles. Gilly also thinks being a father is great fun and thanks his wife for taking care of the family so well.