Australia v New Zealand, 1st Test, Brisbane November 22, 2004

Fleming accuses Gilchrist of walking 'crusade'

Wisden Cricinfo staff



A frank exchange: Craig McMillan and Adam Gilchrist continue the discussion at the end of the Test © Getty Images
The ramifications of the on-field spat between Craig McMillan and Adam Gilchrist rumbled on as Gilchrist cancelled a planned press conference after the game and McMillan was made unavailable by the New Zealand management.

The pair clashed on the fourth afternoon at Brisbane as New Zealand slid towards defeat. McMillan appeared to get an inside edge off Jason Gillespie which was well taken down the leg side by a sprawling Gilchrist. The confident appeal was turned down by Steve Bucknor - who minutes earlier had given Brendon McCullum out caught behind off a ball he missed by inches.

The stump microphones caught the moment when McMillan turned to Gilchrist - who accepted the decision with a wry grin - and told him that "not everyone is walking Gilly ... not everyone has to walk, mate." The exchange continued and Bucknor ambled down the pitch to ensure that it didn't get out of hand. McMillan was lbw to the next ball.

At the end of the match, the pair continued their conversation on the boundary edge, as McMillan told Gilchrist that he thought he was "being a little bit righteous." Gilchrist countered by saying that he had no issues with him not walking, but added that "if you nick it you expect to cop it."

Stephen Fleming then waded in to the debate by accusing Gilchrist, who has a reputation as being a genuine walker, of trying to pressurise opponents. "When you've got one or two players on a crusade, it places pressure on people in terms of whether they choose to walk or not," he told reporters. "We all like to see the game played in the best spirit but if some individuals choose not to, which is their right, then so be it. We have to respect that. Whether you're placing pressure on players for walking or not walking, it's the same scenario. You do have to be very careful."

Ricky Ponting looked to play down the situation. "I think this whole walking thing has been blown completely out of proportion," he explained. "He [Gilchrist] doesn't expect anyone in our team to walk either, so he can't expect that of any opposition players. What can happen is that if there's one we think might be out and you're a batsman who stands there quite often you are going to receive some words from the opposition. It happened in our batting innings as well if you have a look at one of Justin Langer's early in the game. There's been no big deal made of that."

And the idea that Gilchrist was on a crusade was rubbished by Gillespie. "He [Gilchrist] doesn't instill his beliefs on his team-mates or the opposition. There wasn't anything to do with 'you should walk'. What everyone saw yesterday was a bit of gamesmanship out in the middle and a batsman reacted to it.

"A lot of people don't realise how much we do cop it in return from opposition teams but we don't make a song and dance about it," he continued. "We don't go and flay our arms and say we get sledged, we just get on with it."

Nathan Astle, who received a poor decision in the second innings, explained that nobody (except Fleming it would seem) had any problem with Gilchrist's policy of walking. "But by the same respect he shouldn't have a problem with guys that don't walk," he continued. "Emotions get high, you are out there to compete and win for your country and you can't not go through those sorts of emotions." Perhaps the most telling thing was that neither umpire chose to report the incident. Australia's selectors, meanwhile, named an unchanged squad for the second Test which starts at Adelaide on Friday (November 26).

Australia Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting (capt), Damien Martyn, Darren Lehmann, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist (wkt), Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee.