Sydney controversy behind Gilly's retirement
The controversial Sydney Test was unlucky for Aus in many ways but the one major blow it dealt to the team was that it resulted in Adam Gilchrist's decision to quit international cricket.cricket Updated: Nov 01, 2008 12:05 IST
The controversial Sydney Test was unlucky for Australia in many ways but the one major blow it dealt to the team was that it resulted in wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist's decision to quit international cricket.
Gilchrist, whose keeping was being questioned by experts during the series, disclosed in his autobiography 'True colours' that the Sydney Test controversy was actually the last nail in the coffin.
"I certainly did not retire because my sportsmanship was questioned, and I didn't even decide to retire that week but on top of everything else that had gone on I feel the controversies around the Sydney Test were the straw that broke the camel's back," Gilchrist wrote.
The former Australian Vice-captain said he was contemplating retirement from one-dayers since the World Cup in the Caribbean but was not thinking about retiring from Tests until the happenings had started to take a toll on his peace of mind.
"They'd (sister's family) booked their tickets well in advance, thinking it might be my last Test, but I certainly hadn't made the decision. I was beginning to resolve finally on pulling out of one-day cricket, but I wasn't quitting Tests. I hadn't even asked (wife) Mel to come to Adelaide (the venue of the fourth and the final Test against India).
"... We lost the toss and fielded all day, the (Sachin) Tendulkar factory churning out another ton. My concentration wasn't good. Even in the first session I was asking myself:'Do I really want to just pull out of one-dayers? Should I keep doing both?" Gilchrist also admitted that his reflexes had slowed down by a fraction of second.
"The ball was generally hitting me in the heels of my hands rather than palms. No one would have seen it from the outside, but my hands were continually a fraction of a second late. This had been happening for a little while now, and it was playing on my mind," he added.
The dropped catches in the Sydney Test left Gilchrist's morale so low that he began to think "I was really a batsman who wore gloves, I wasn't a genuine 'keeper".
The Australian, who is respected for his sportsmanship, also revealed how the virtue became a burden on him.
"When you are batting and you nick one, you know for sure you are out. The matter is in your hands. Most players pass that responsibility to the umpire. I had decided to take the responsibility for it myself.
"... On walking, I felt isolated ... Silently accused to betraying the team. Implicitly, I was made to feel selfish, as if I was walking for the sake of my own clean image, thereby making everyone else look dishonest.
"My action in the 2003 World Cup semi-final had become such a big deal because it held up mirror to every player... (but) that I walked wasn't a judgment on others," he said.