December 17, 2006

Third Test, Perth

More on Adam & Rudi

Gideon Haigh

Some commenters this morning have responded with doubt and asperity to my remark that Adam Gilchrist 'may not be the greatest wicketkeeper batsman in history'. It was mainly a rhetorical construction, but it brought us back to the never ending debate about how well a keeper should be expected to bat: it's no longer, I agree, a question of whether a keeper should be able to bat at all. The answer, I think, will always depend on the team: an XI with two spinners and a solid all-rounder at number seven, for instance, will place a greater accent on glovework than an XI with four fast bowlers and no all-rounder.

For the record, I think Alan Knott is the greatest wicketkeeper batsman in history. I do, however, think that Gilchrist is the greatest batsman wicketkeeper, and that it's a shame he never had the opportunity to bat at number six for an extended period. I am also persuaded that, at his best, Don Tallon was the greatest keeper - Sir Donald Bradman is not a bad advocate to have in your corner. Who you picked would depend on your team. Any other candidates?

As for the Strauss lbw, I don't think it's material to say that it 'looked out' on TV. The effect of the elevated view of the TV cameras, which inevitably distorts height, is most pronounced where lbw is concerned. It is a truth universally acknowledged that this Perth pitch is a bouncy one: any umpire, therefore, should have at the back of his mind that balls short of a length, unless they very obviously stay down, will tend to pass over the stumps more often than not. Aleem Dar did, quite rightly, when he gave Hayden not out yesterday on 65 (he gave a poor decision against Katich at Trent Bridge last year, which may have made him more circumspect). Koertzen did not (if he thinks about much, he hides it well). And this was not even close: the ball hit above the knee roll, and was shown to be passing over the stumps by a foot and a half. To be fair, it can sometimes be difficult to pick up the height of an impact on a white-clad batsman. My own view is that umpires should more often consult with their square leg colleagues, generally better placed to give altitude guidance. But that may be easier said than done. I'd welcome comments from umpire readers.

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Posted by Gerard Gleeson on (January 4, 2007, 13:03 GMT)

How many curent BATSMEN in test cricket have more test hundreds than Adam Gilchrist???

One West Indian A couple of Indians One New Zealander One South African NO ENGLISHMEN

Among his contemporaries he is one of the best batsmen in world cricket. Add this to his impeccable keeping record, and how can you argue against him.

After he has retired, I sincerely hope his greatness will be realised. If Richie Benaud believes in him, that's good enough for me

Posted by AL on (December 21, 2006, 5:31 GMT)

Gilchrist by a mile. Why is Viv Richards often picked in the team of the century over other batsmen with higher averages? Because he, like Gilly, completely dominated the best that anyone could throw at him. They are match winners. There have been certain players over the years who - on their day - have had the measure of any bowling attack. How many one dayers has Gilchrist won for Australia? You know that if Gilly is still there half way through the match that the other team is most likely screwed. Gilchrist is a match winning captain. Is very quick and smart in the field. He has kept to one of the fastest bowlers ever. Has kept to two of the best leg spinners ever. Has maintained his averages/strike rate against all teams over a long period of time. Will soon be the highest wicket taking keeper of all time - with (as mentioned earlier) better day to day stats than Healy. Is a selfless batsman and (as mentioned earlier) could have a much higher batting average had he protected it. Would be a starter in any all-time one day team on batting alone. Is a great sportsman and an articulate role model. Is simply the one of the most exciting players of all time. Ask - who would you rather watch bat? Thanks Morgan for doing some proper research: "As for Don Bradman naming Tallon the greatest... he notes in his book 'Bradman's Best Ashes Teams' that if Gilchrist was to keep up a high average (it was written around 2000) he would go past Tallon as the man he would choose in his team." - I think Gilchrist has achieved that now. Richie Benaud picks Gilchrist - good enough for me. Ok - I didn't start out to hack another bloke's blog (Pinstripe)- but I just had to! "I find only 6 of gilchrist's 17 centuries being scored in a scenario when he came in at less than 200" OK 17!!!! ONLY 6!!!! For a start 6 is more than a handy third - not to mention all the quick fire half centuries or even 30's and 40's that Gilly has contributed to boost Australia's chances. Rod Marsh was always considered a good batsman for a keeper and he only scored 3 centuries in his entire career. 17! 6! Come on. Boony is an all-time legend and at no. 3 he had 21 tons against his name. You can bet Gilly will be well over that mark in the coming years. On keeping skills: Quite simply the guy takes catches. He stumps guys in a flash. I don't care if he's diving or standing on his head - he takes what should be taken and doesn't miss much. I know that we all think back on the keepers of our youth with fondness. Rod Marsh was mine. Incredible athletics, speed, and silky skills. Quantifying keeping skills of keepers from different eras is almost impossible - fun to try but hard. No-one really knows how Ponting and Bradman would have gone if they swapped places. Pretty well I reckon, but no way to tell what their stats would have been. Gilly has the stats against his name and he doesn't drop much. That'll do I reckon. I'm sure there are have been keepers with slightly better skills - but not by far. Gilchrist performs with the bat and with the gloves. Kumar Sangakarra is quite entitled to be considered up there, but it's a bit early for that. I'm sure The Don would pick him too if he keeps performing over the years. Would anyone REALLY leave Gilchrist out of a champion team if they were picking it???? By the way to the guy that is annoyed by the way Gilly whips off the bails with any half-chance stumping - better that than a fumbled Jones effort. And if it pisses you off imagine how the batsmen feel.

Posted by Umair on (December 20, 2006, 19:32 GMT)

Thank you Stuart, for that unnecessary jibe against Pakistan. Good to see you Aussies helpless on the Hair sacking!

Posted by Pinstripe on (December 20, 2006, 19:00 GMT)

Sorry to come in again, and this time I won't give stats to anyone. "he doesn't have the same presence on the field, the bravado, or the mental edge over the world's best batsmen"????? Doesn't have the same presence? Really? And what is bravado? Mouthing off to batsmen? Or bowling 40 overs in a day in baked, dead conditions to get something like 8/180 every test match, and having to carry a pedestrian bowling attack on one's shoulders for well over a decade? And mental edge? Who are, pray, the world's greatest modern batsmen? Ian Bell? Daryll Cullinan? or Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara? We all know what happened to Warne in India, don't we? And publicity? Popularity? A whole country's cricketing revolution could be represented by Murali. And in the subcontinent (which happens to make cricket the marketing phenomenon that it is), Murali is as much if not more popular (indeed, more, on the sheer dint of performance) than Warne. Will make it simpler. Look, I am Indian. And cricketing rivalries are a big thing in the sub-continent. And yet here I am writing tomes and tomes for Murali, who plays for, indeed, a rival nation.

Posted by shane on (December 20, 2006, 13:41 GMT)

Hi All

Gilly is by far the most match winning of all keepers ever. He may not be the best keeper, however he drops very few catches and has taken a number of spectacular ones.

He could have been at the heights of his powers picked as a batsman alone and very few of the keepers could do that. He bats at 7 for team balance. He could quite easily have batted as high as 4 if he wasn't a keeper. Remember the unbelievable innings he played to rescue Oz in Sri Lanka at no.3 against Murali and Co.

I believe he could have made more runs batting higher because his liking to the new ball rather than the old. Tends to play too early and get caught when the ball is not coming on to the bat.

I for one will be sad when he retires because he is my favourite cricketer of all time and is totally unselfish and plays for the team at all times.

Posted by Michael from Brisbane on (December 20, 2006, 10:22 GMT)

The Serf Gilly is right handed. He bats left handed. He writes, throws, plays golf etc right handed

Posted by Stuart on (December 20, 2006, 10:08 GMT)

Firstly, one might comment that, regarding Strauss, this is perhaps the third or fourth time this series which he has been unfairly dismissed by a bad decision. It is poosible that Koertzen simply made a bad decision, but this has to be accepted, in England we could expect appeals to succeed far more easily, cast your minds back to Edgbaston, and the same exists in Australia. Unless people want to follow Pakistan and ask for his resignation over this, it simply has to be accepted, although maybe suggested that Koertzen should re-examine appeals against Strauss in future. On the subject of Gilchrist it is simple. Regardless of any other factors, Gilchrist is simply one of a kind; his ton the other day was breathtaking and a representation that, whatever else he is, there is no-one like him to go out and attack. Only one thing is sure, and that is that we'll miss himk when he's gone.

Posted by Manish on (December 20, 2006, 9:27 GMT)

It is Syed Kirmani ......Dujon comes a close second

Posted by marcus on (December 20, 2006, 8:04 GMT)

Khurram, Flower's only played 4 games against Bangladesh and 2 against West Indies. Gilchrist has played 4 against Bangladesh, 12 against West Indies and 2 against Zimbabwe.

Posted by Khurram on (December 20, 2006, 5:50 GMT)

another reason why Andy has higher average than gilchrist in tests is because he is no where near the strike rate with which Glily scores.... if he had done that then his average wud hav been around 30s... its just unbelievable someone who destructs every other ball have an average of 49 in tests...and ODI average is also so high even when he's an opener... thats just amazing... dunno why he's so under rated as a batsman...but in the history of the game of cricket few individuals have scored with that pace and still maintained such a high career average amazing...

also comparing Andy with Gilly is unfair to Gilchrist as dont forget Zimbabwae play a hell of a lot matches against bangladesh and west indies and other weak teams as they give them 5 tests series and many times in an year...while australia or england at best give zimbabwae 2-3 tests and that too after a long period.... while Australia play with the best of the lot more... I guess only India is the team among the top teams who play frequently with Zimbabwe (just to improve their ‘star’ batsmen average and win at least something in tests) …if u see Andy flower's record he scored an awful lot of runs against lesser bowling attacks including India while Gilly has been consistent against the best and has a better average against better bowling attacks….

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gideon Haigh
Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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