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July 27, 2005
Gilmour, who is 54, needs an operation urgently and fund-raising efforts are being spearheaded by Ian Chappell, his former Australian captain. "His condition has deteriorated to the point where he is on three hours' standby for surgery that will, hopefully, give him a new lease of life," Chappell said. "It is vital that funds be raised to cover his medical costs and his family's ongoing needs."
Chappell has organised a dinner in Sydney on September 23, and a number of past and present players have donated items for auction. "One of the guests may possibly end up being 13th man during the Australia-Rest of the World Test in Sydney in October," Chappell said. "And that means being in the Australian dressing-room and carrying the drinks."
Gilmour, a burly allrounder, burst onto the scene at Headingley in June 1975 when, in ideal conditions, he destroyed England in a display rated by Wisden as the greatest one-day bowling performance ever. Then, set just 94 to win, Australia were in tatters on 38 for 6 when he hit a run-a-ball 28 not out to see them through to the final. Although Australia lost that game to West Indies, Gilmour was the pick of the bowlers with 5 for 48 off his 12 overs.
Despite that remarkable start, Gilmour played only 15 Tests and three more ODIs. "A debilitating foot injury was a handicap," noted Gideon Haigh. "So was a light-hearted attitude to training and fitness that owed more to the 1950s than to the increasingly professional era of which he was part."
"I couldn't play under today's conditions, what with the travelling and training and scientific aspects," Gilmour once said. "It's not a sport any more, it's like going to work. You know how some mornings you get up and don't want to go to work - that's how I'd feel playing cricket these days. I'd clock on for a sickie."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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