An allrounder par excellence
Records never meant a whole lot to Adam Gilchrist, which makes it even more incredible that he achieved the kind of numbers he did through his 11-year international career. Nearly 15,000 runs in international cricket, plus 868 victims behind the stumps are impressive returns for a player who will go down as one of the greatest entertainers the game has ever seen.
His ODI record was impressive, but it was as a No. 7 batsman in Tests that he really worked his magic. He averages marginally less than 48, and it was only in the last two years that the average dipped below 50. As a wicketkeeper-batsman he had few peers - the only one to score more than 2500 runs and finish with a 50-plus average was Andy Flower of Zimbabwe. None of them, though, got anywhere close to Gilchrist's remarkable strike rate of nearly 82 runs per 100 balls. In fact, his strike rate is the highest among all batsmen with at least 2000 Test runs.
|Batsman||Tests||Runs||Average||Strike rate||100s/ 50s|
|Andy Flower||55||4404||53.70||44.78||12/ 23|
|Adam Gilchrist||96||5556||47.89||81.97||17/ 26|
|Kumar Sangakkara||47||3093||41.24||52.01||7/ 11|
|Alec Stewart||82||4540||34.92||49.69||6/ 23|
|Alan Knott||95||4389||32.75||44.43||5/ 30|
In one-dayers he took it a notch higher, scoring at almost a run a ball at a healthy average of 36. Among wicketkeeper-batsmen with at least 2500 runs, only two have a higher average.
|Batsman||ODIs||Runs||Average||Strike rate||100s/ 50s|
|Mahendra Singh Dhoni||96||2838||43.66||94.72||3/ 17|
|Kumar Sangakkara||164||5124||37.95||75.96||4/ 39|
|Adam Gilchrist||272||9088||35.77||96.89||15/ 51|
|Andy Flower||186||5845||34.58||73.71||4/ 46|
|Alec Stewart||138||4017||33.47||70.06||4/ 26|
Pakistan's Shahid Afridi has been slightly more explosive in ODIs, but he has only managed an average of 23.48. Gilchrist, on the other hand, married quick scoring with a fair degree of consistency as well.
That he relished the big stage is obvious from his performances in the three World Cup finals he played in, in 1999, 2003 and 2007. He scored half-centuries in the first two, but the last was easily the most memorable, as Gilchrist slammed 149 off a mere 104 balls in a knock of stunning audacity. Gilchrist is one of only three batsmen to aggregate more than 150 runs in World Cup finals, and his average (86.67) and strike rate (138.29) indicate just how much he enjoys the big occasion.
The stand-out feature of Gilchrist's batting has always been his ability to score quickly, and find the boundaries with ease. His 57-ball century against England in Perth in 2006 remains the second-fastest Test hundred, and of the 43 fifty-plus scores he made in Tests, 20 came at a strike rate of more than 90, while only seven were at a rate of less than 70.
Gilchrist remains the only batsman to hit 100 sixes in Tests - he achieved the feat when he clouted Muttiah Muralitharan for his 99th and 100th hits over the boundary in Hobart last year. (Click here for more on Gilchrist's six-hitting ability, and here for a list of highest six-hitters in Tests.)
His skills in front of the stumps was only one aspect of Gilchrist's contribution to the team: he was immense behind the stumps as well. His 414 dismissals in Tests and 454 in ODIs are both records. Of the nine instances when wicketkeepers have pouched six dismissals in a single ODI innings, Gilchrist accounts for five of those. Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee have benefited the most from Gilchrist's presence behind the stumps: c Gilchrist b McGrath has happened 90 times in Tests, which is second only to the 95 instances when batsmen were caught by Rodney Marsh off Dennis Lillee.
The other outstanding aspect about his career was his ability to be ready for battle every time he was needed by Australia. Since his Test debut in 1999, Gilchrist played every single Test for Australia. His 96 games in a row is the fourth-highest in the all-time list, and easily the highest by a wicketkeeper.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo