Tense Sydney Test prompted retirement - Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist has said though his problems with wicketkeeping had influenced his decision to retire from international cricket, the controversial Sydney Test against India was the "straw that broke the camel's back".
"I certainly did not retire because my sportsmanship was questioned, and I didn't even decide to retire that week but on top of everything else that had gone on I feel the controversies around the Sydney Test were the straw that broke the camel's back," Gilchrist wrote in his newly published book True Colours. The match had been a tense one with umpiring errors and on-field sledging overshadowing the play. Harbhajan Singh was banned for alleged racial abuse against Andrew Symonds but was let off on appeal, much to the disappointment of the Australians. Gilchrist also criticised Harbhajan's behaviour in his book.
Gilchrist announced his retirement during the final Test of the series in Adelaide soon after going past Mark Boucher to become the keeper with most Test dismissals. But he said in his book that his poor form with the gloves during the series had been playing on his mind for a while.
"I was beginning to resolve finally on pulling out of one-day cricket, but I wasn't quitting Tests," Gilchrist wrote. "I hadn't even asked [my wife] Mel to come to Adelaide. ... We lost the toss and fielded all day, the [Sachin] Tendulkar factory churning out another ton. My concentration wasn't good. Even in the first session I was asking myself: 'Do I really want to just pull out of one-dayers? Should I keep doing both?' The ball was generally hitting me in the heels of my hands rather than palms. No one would have seen it from the outside, but my hands were continually a fraction of a second late. This had been happening for a little while now."
He had dropped three catches during the Sydney Test which he said made him feel he wasn't a genuine keeper. "I was really a batsman who wore gloves."
Gilchrist was known for walking on being dismissed, most memorably during the semi-final of the World Cup in 2003. But he said it made him feel isolated in the Australian team. "... silently accused of betraying the team. Implicitly, I was made to feel selfish, as if I was walking for the sake of my own clean image, thereby making everyone else look dishonest. My action in the 2003 World Cup semi-final had become such a big deal because it held up a mirror to every player... [but] that I walked wasn't a judgment on others."