November 30, 1998

Profile of Adam Gilchrist

Essentially his nation's Test wicketkeeper in waiting, Adam Gilchrist is one of Australia's most exciting young players. Originally from New South Wales, he made his Sheffield Shield debut as a specialist batsman in 1992-93 but relocated within two summers when it became obvious that his desire to become a first-class wicketkeeper would not be realised in his home State. Starved of opportunities (and frustrated by his inability to convince the New South Wales' selection panel that he was a superior wicketkeeper to the incumbent, Phil Emery), he accordingly moved to Western Australia, where he quickly displaced another highly regarded former international player in Tim Zoehrer.

Since that time, he has deservedly acquired a name for himself as an enterprising player who can always be relied upon to make a valuable contribution to his team's fortunes. Behind the stumps, he is reliable, enthusiastic and athletic, although it should be said that he generally appears more comfortable keeping to faster bowlers than to spinners. As a batsman, his penchant for playing attacking shots and for punishing loose bowling also makes him a particularly enjoyable player to watch. Whilst his most devastating shot is the cut, he possesses a wide variety of strokes and his penchant for powering the ball square of the wicket is accompanied by an equally adroit capacity to drive the ball fluently through the arc between mid-off and mid-on.

Although his elevation to national honours was not without controversy (as it was made at the expense of the ever-popular Ian Healy), such has been the extent of Gilchrist's progress since moving to Western Australia that he has become a fixture in Australia's one-day international side - as both a 'keeper and dashing opening batsman - over recent seasons. Indeed, one needs to look no further than the three brilliant ODI centuries that he has already scored during 1998 (a measured 100 against South Africa in Sydney in January, a blazing 118 off 117 balls against New Zealand at Lancaster Park in February, and a superb 103 which saw him anchor Australia's successful pursuit of a mammoth total of 8/315 set by Pakistan in Lahore in November) to understand that he is an excellent player whose stature in the game will surely only grow when he is afforded his rightful chance to succeed Healy as Australia's Test gloveman.

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