Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 2nd day January 25, 2008

'I've maintained a high standard' - Gilchrist


"In a nutshell, it comes down to concentration. Are you switched on for every ball? © Getty Images
 

The pain of being labelled a "backstop" has helped drive Adam Gilchrist from being a gloveman who had to swap states to get regular first-class games to the world-record holder for dismissals. Gilchrist overtook Mark Boucher's 413 on the second day against India and then spoke of his constant battle to prove himself to a small band of critics.

"With my keeping I've always had to maintain the highest standards and if I didn't people pounce on it very quickly," he said. "I'm not sure if that's because of my batting, people suggesting I'm just a batsman and a backstop. I've used that as incentive to help motivate me and feel like I've maintained a high standard."

Gilchrist's work has slipped during the series and he has dropped four catches and missed two stumpings, including a regulation offering from VVS Laxman on the first day in Adelaide. He blamed himself for setting the poor tone in the field - Australia grassed seven chances as Indian reached 526 - but is not downbeat.

"I'm probably the main culprit," he said. "In Sydney I dropped about three or four and another one here [on day one]. That was disappointing. Sometimes they stick, sometimes they don't, and it's not something that's a great concern."

His simple advice for improvement was to "close your hands around the ball" but he admitted his focus had left him down. "In a nutshell, it comes down to concentration," he said. "Are you switched on for every ball? Very rarely, if ever, can I remember dropping a catch or missing a stumping, and when asking myself whether I was concentrating 100%, have I been able to say yes. Normally I've had something on my mind and wandered off. You just get exposed."

Retirement is something Gilchrist, who is 36, is being asked about more often these days. He refused to open up on when he will step down or if he will reduce his duties. "It'll be my decision," he said. "At the end of the day you might try not to listen to comments and someone will text you and say: 'don't listen to them'. Then you listen and get angry. At the end of the day it's got to come from within."

Gilchrist chose to leave his home state of New South Wales in 1994 to switch to Western Australia, unseating the popular Tim Zoehrer. When he replaced Ian Healy in 1999 there was similar angst from the home supporters, but he won most of them over as he redefined the role of the wicketkeeper-batsman.

"I'm thrilled to be the world-record holder," he said. "It's a really nice, satisfying achievement. I might have got there a bit quicker if I'd gloved a couple a bit more cleanly."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo