February 5, 2008

Gilchrist: beautifully used

Australia's masterstroke with Gilchrist wasn't starting him at seven, but keeping him there
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Lucky seven: many other teams would have pushed Gilchrist up the order once he began scoring big © AFP
 

To the victor, the spoils. And to the retiring member of a victorious team, even more spoils. Adam Gilchrist has been praised to the skies, like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne a year ago - perhaps more so, with his ability to combine genius with dignity. And he deserves all the applause, but one of the factors behind his success has been underplayed. He wasn't just an outstanding player; he was used in an outstanding way.

In Tests, he nearly always batted at number seven. At first, this was just standard stuff. Most teams stick the keeper at seven, and Australian teams nearly always do, with their rock-solid habit of playing six specialist batsmen and four bowlers. (If Andrew Symonds keeps on growing into a true Test allrounder, he will be their first one since Richie Benaud.) Australia's masterstroke with Gilchrist wasn't starting him at seven, but keeping him there.

Many other teams would have pushed him up the order once he began to get big scores, which he did straightaway - 81 off 88 balls in his first Test, a matchwinning 149 not out off 163 in his second, both against Pakistan. (With Gilchrist, even more than other modern players, you have to log the balls.) But if Steve Waugh felt any temptation to promote Gilchrist, he largely resisted it. He gave him a single go at number four in a third-innings thrash against India at the MCG in 1999-2000 (he made 55 off 73), and one at three in a far more tense third innings, in the final Test of the epic 2001 series, when Gilchrist fell lbw to Harbhajan Singh for the third time in four and added another 1 to a bizarre sequence of 122, 0, 0 and 1.

There was also one outing at six against England at The Oval in 2001, when Gilchrist joined Waugh himself in the middle with Australia 489 for 3 (Justin Langer had retired hurt). But Gilchrist was just as likely to go down the order as up: Waugh used a nightwatchman more often than you might think, which gave Gilchrist the chance to put his feet up for even longer, before sauntering out as the world's scariest number eight.

 
 
The only man to have scored more Test runs in the bottom five is Kapil, who made 4828 in 163 innings outside the top six. Gilchrist managed almost as many - 4429 - in 51 fewer innings
 

Later, he had a couple of brief stints at number six, but not because Waugh or Ricky Ponting wanted him any higher: it was just to make room for a fifth bowler, on the rare occasions when the Aussies decided they needed a second spinner. Gilchrist ended up batting 100 times at number seven, and 12 times at eight, out of 137 innings in 96 Tests (more often than not, he didn't need to bat twice in a match). He was simply the best number seven in history. He made more runs there than anyone else, and dwarfed any of his rivals' strike rate - his was 83, well ahead of other six-hitting sevens. Kapil Dev came close with 78, in a more sedate era; but Andrew Flintoff (68), Lance Klusener (65), Chris Cairns (63) and Ian Botham (62) were all way behind.

Gilchrist's presence and power meant that, while many opponents had it in them to reduce Australia to, say, 230 for 5, few could bowl them out for less than 400. Waugh had hit on a simple truth: that the fall of the fifth wicket is often a fork in the road of a game. One more wicket, and the fielding side are down to the tail; one decent stand, and they are knackered; one blast from Gilchrist, and they are a rabble.

The only man to have scored more Test runs in the bottom five is Kapil, who made 4828 in 163 innings outside the top six. Gilchrist managed almost as many - 4429 - in 51 fewer innings. He averaged 46 in the bottom five, to Kapil's 31. Gilchrist's tally of 13 Test hundreds in the bottom half of the order is the same as the next two players - Kapil and Botham - put together. As the seventh batsman in a mighty line-up, Gilchrist often had to wait exceptionally long for his turn. But when he got in, he was explosive. He was like a perfect pay-off line: all the better for being delayed.

Tim de Lisle is the author of Young Wisden. His website is www.timdelisle.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • The_other_side on February 6, 2008, 14:16 GMT

    Gilchrist is a rare jewel. There is no second thought to it. All statistics presented by Tim find him superior. However apart from Hobart, Mumbai, Perth innings and possibly the double century in SA most of his innings were consolidation. He was not very successful in the series that Australia lost.On the other hand Kapil Dev, Ian Botham and possibly Imran Khan (?) can boast of some great innings even in lost cause. Frankly if one goes by saying when going gets tough the tough get going.... I dont know if Gilly will be number one. I see others have played much better knocks in more adverse circumstances, although their contributions may not have helped team's cause.

    Gilly has been part of a highly successful team and is primarily a wicket keeper. I do not know if he can be compared with bowling allrounders.

    He is my all time best keeper batsman No.2 behind Andy Flower of Zimbabwe and a VERY exciting batsman but he will not be my all time Mr adversity

  • Akhtar_Uttara9 on February 6, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    The Australian team is going to have a big problem trying to replace Gilchrist. The way he contributed in ODIs and Tests for Australia, and the way he saved them from different embarrassing situations, it will not be possible for any upcoming wicketkeeper to do so. Let's see how the Australian team responds.

  • valvolux on February 6, 2008, 3:12 GMT

    Great article. There's no doubt that Gilchrist was most potent at 7. For me he defined the Steve Waugh era - that guys owes Gilly more than a few bottles of fine red. During his first few years in the test arena Gilly was the most dependable player...not batsmen, bowler or keeper but player in the game. I would guess it was 9/10 times he could be relied on to rescue an innings but it felt like 10/10 that he actually delivered. It didn't matter what position we were in, we as a nation not only trusted but knew that he was going to bring things right. It wasn't until the 05 ashes when we were struggling in our first innings and Gilly came out to bat that he failed us....it was a really strange feeling when all of a sudden he wasn't delivering to his lofty standards. But even in recent years he was still able to remind us of why we kept him at 7 and why we always stopped what we were doing when he came out to bat - the guy could literally take your breath away.

  • BuddyLee on February 6, 2008, 1:39 GMT

    Damn Timmy, that was a good article. I opine Gilchrist was the greatest and most valuable player amongst his contemporaries; I don't take Warne, McGrath, etc. lightly, but they were pretty graceless. Adam's loss will hit the Aussies harder in Tests than the loss of either McGrath or Warne. Obviously, since the Aussies carried on without much of a dent with the loss of both Warne and McGrath, it remains to be seen how much of an impact that will be exactly.

  • Saddles on February 6, 2008, 1:08 GMT

    All-rounder is a term that has always been used poorly. There are four disciplines in cricket - batting, bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping. Perhaps some may say that fielding should be discounted as everyone is expected to perform in that area (although we have seen some instances where players clearly don't, haven't we Tuffy!).

    Surely then an "all-rounder" should be someone that is capable in all disciplines? Obviously that is unlikely as you are not going to get a bowler who gets the opportunity to prove themselves behind the stumps or vice-versa. If then an all-rounder is someone that can check only two of the boxes then why can't it include wicketkeeper / batsmen?

    Gilly has shown expertise in two disciplines, keeping and batting. He is in my eyes one of the greatest all-rounders we will ever see.

  • radioFREEmadras on February 5, 2008, 20:10 GMT

    I wouldn't say Stuart Clark "has done well all over the world" since all over the world implies playing in 9 different Test countries or at least in different conditions... not 3 Tests in South Africa and 1 in Bangladesh. He has done exceptionally well at home and it remains to be seen if he can scale Glenn McGrath's heights.

    Coming to Gilchrist however, it does not appear that anyone will be overcoming his batting exploits any time soon. The following statement has become quite pithy but is well worth repeating: he simply revolutionized the role of the wicket-keeper in the game. And what a gentleman too. He will be missed.

  • Hope on February 5, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    I think there were more reasons to keep Gilly at seven. As a wicketkeeper, Gilly would normally keep wickets for about 60 to 90 odd overs per inning. To have him come out and bat at 3 or 4 would have been too much to ask for. Sangakkara is a great example of this. For the first part of his career, he kept wickets and also batted at number 3. Now that he has started playing as a specialist batsman, look at the changes in his stats. It's not because he has changed his game, it is in part because he is fresh when he comes in to bat and therefore can concentrate better. India's experiment with Parthiv Patel as opener didn't go too because his performances in front and behind the wickets started falling away. May be the reason wasn't simply his technique but also fatigue and concentration. It would be interesting to know how Alec Stewart and Kamran Akmal's stats stand up to this theory. (While they opened batting) I can't think of any other wicketkeeper in recent history who batted in top 4

  • CrickFrick on February 5, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    There's no doubt that Gilly is an awesome player with explosive batting style. But don't you think his batting style and his # 7 position were depending on the success of the Australian top order. I mean try playing like that at #7 playing for countries like Bangladesh (no sweat, I am a Bangladeshi). With all due respect to Gilly, I think his success as an explosive batsman was vastly reliant on the team he played for and the batsmen he followed.

  • Kazza1 on February 5, 2008, 14:23 GMT

    and haven't lost a series since in fact have only lost one test match. They had Stuart Clark to replace Glenn as a line and length bowler (and has done it brilliantly all over the world on all sorts of wickets) we had Stuart McGill to replace Warnie (unfortunately got injured, but a very capable replacement who's a bigger spinner than Warnie) no the experience our youngsters gain before making this great Australian team is faultless. There are not thrown in at the deep end and expected to perform straight away they are getting alot of runs in first class cricket for years, or taking alot of 1st class wickets. Australia will go on dominating for years to come as when a player retires a more than capable one takes his place. Unlike say the Indians who change teams like we change our knickers, their test team is going to suffer greatly by the loss of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly, just like their one day team already suffers without them.

  • Kazza1 on February 5, 2008, 14:10 GMT

    I agree Gilchrist will be greatly missed he was so destructive in all forms of the game but he was down on runs and glovework was suffering too. Haddin by no means as great a player as Gilly, though he has been groomed to take over from Gilly for a few years now and Australia lose nothing with Haddin as a more than ready and capable replacement (you can never replace legends of the game with another legend). Haddin has averaged 50 in domestic cricket (the best and strongest domestic competition in the world) and has been playing for the Aussies now for a couple of seasons as a stand in for Gilly while he has been rested or as a batsmen.It's nonsense to say Australia will be much less dominate (more like wishful thinking by the other countries) the thing with Australia is they lost 2 of the best bowlers the world has ever seen in one go(not to mention Langer - who along with Hayden were the most successful opening batsmen ever, and Martyn who was a great and elegant batsmen too)

  • The_other_side on February 6, 2008, 14:16 GMT

    Gilchrist is a rare jewel. There is no second thought to it. All statistics presented by Tim find him superior. However apart from Hobart, Mumbai, Perth innings and possibly the double century in SA most of his innings were consolidation. He was not very successful in the series that Australia lost.On the other hand Kapil Dev, Ian Botham and possibly Imran Khan (?) can boast of some great innings even in lost cause. Frankly if one goes by saying when going gets tough the tough get going.... I dont know if Gilly will be number one. I see others have played much better knocks in more adverse circumstances, although their contributions may not have helped team's cause.

    Gilly has been part of a highly successful team and is primarily a wicket keeper. I do not know if he can be compared with bowling allrounders.

    He is my all time best keeper batsman No.2 behind Andy Flower of Zimbabwe and a VERY exciting batsman but he will not be my all time Mr adversity

  • Akhtar_Uttara9 on February 6, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    The Australian team is going to have a big problem trying to replace Gilchrist. The way he contributed in ODIs and Tests for Australia, and the way he saved them from different embarrassing situations, it will not be possible for any upcoming wicketkeeper to do so. Let's see how the Australian team responds.

  • valvolux on February 6, 2008, 3:12 GMT

    Great article. There's no doubt that Gilchrist was most potent at 7. For me he defined the Steve Waugh era - that guys owes Gilly more than a few bottles of fine red. During his first few years in the test arena Gilly was the most dependable player...not batsmen, bowler or keeper but player in the game. I would guess it was 9/10 times he could be relied on to rescue an innings but it felt like 10/10 that he actually delivered. It didn't matter what position we were in, we as a nation not only trusted but knew that he was going to bring things right. It wasn't until the 05 ashes when we were struggling in our first innings and Gilly came out to bat that he failed us....it was a really strange feeling when all of a sudden he wasn't delivering to his lofty standards. But even in recent years he was still able to remind us of why we kept him at 7 and why we always stopped what we were doing when he came out to bat - the guy could literally take your breath away.

  • BuddyLee on February 6, 2008, 1:39 GMT

    Damn Timmy, that was a good article. I opine Gilchrist was the greatest and most valuable player amongst his contemporaries; I don't take Warne, McGrath, etc. lightly, but they were pretty graceless. Adam's loss will hit the Aussies harder in Tests than the loss of either McGrath or Warne. Obviously, since the Aussies carried on without much of a dent with the loss of both Warne and McGrath, it remains to be seen how much of an impact that will be exactly.

  • Saddles on February 6, 2008, 1:08 GMT

    All-rounder is a term that has always been used poorly. There are four disciplines in cricket - batting, bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping. Perhaps some may say that fielding should be discounted as everyone is expected to perform in that area (although we have seen some instances where players clearly don't, haven't we Tuffy!).

    Surely then an "all-rounder" should be someone that is capable in all disciplines? Obviously that is unlikely as you are not going to get a bowler who gets the opportunity to prove themselves behind the stumps or vice-versa. If then an all-rounder is someone that can check only two of the boxes then why can't it include wicketkeeper / batsmen?

    Gilly has shown expertise in two disciplines, keeping and batting. He is in my eyes one of the greatest all-rounders we will ever see.

  • radioFREEmadras on February 5, 2008, 20:10 GMT

    I wouldn't say Stuart Clark "has done well all over the world" since all over the world implies playing in 9 different Test countries or at least in different conditions... not 3 Tests in South Africa and 1 in Bangladesh. He has done exceptionally well at home and it remains to be seen if he can scale Glenn McGrath's heights.

    Coming to Gilchrist however, it does not appear that anyone will be overcoming his batting exploits any time soon. The following statement has become quite pithy but is well worth repeating: he simply revolutionized the role of the wicket-keeper in the game. And what a gentleman too. He will be missed.

  • Hope on February 5, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    I think there were more reasons to keep Gilly at seven. As a wicketkeeper, Gilly would normally keep wickets for about 60 to 90 odd overs per inning. To have him come out and bat at 3 or 4 would have been too much to ask for. Sangakkara is a great example of this. For the first part of his career, he kept wickets and also batted at number 3. Now that he has started playing as a specialist batsman, look at the changes in his stats. It's not because he has changed his game, it is in part because he is fresh when he comes in to bat and therefore can concentrate better. India's experiment with Parthiv Patel as opener didn't go too because his performances in front and behind the wickets started falling away. May be the reason wasn't simply his technique but also fatigue and concentration. It would be interesting to know how Alec Stewart and Kamran Akmal's stats stand up to this theory. (While they opened batting) I can't think of any other wicketkeeper in recent history who batted in top 4

  • CrickFrick on February 5, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    There's no doubt that Gilly is an awesome player with explosive batting style. But don't you think his batting style and his # 7 position were depending on the success of the Australian top order. I mean try playing like that at #7 playing for countries like Bangladesh (no sweat, I am a Bangladeshi). With all due respect to Gilly, I think his success as an explosive batsman was vastly reliant on the team he played for and the batsmen he followed.

  • Kazza1 on February 5, 2008, 14:23 GMT

    and haven't lost a series since in fact have only lost one test match. They had Stuart Clark to replace Glenn as a line and length bowler (and has done it brilliantly all over the world on all sorts of wickets) we had Stuart McGill to replace Warnie (unfortunately got injured, but a very capable replacement who's a bigger spinner than Warnie) no the experience our youngsters gain before making this great Australian team is faultless. There are not thrown in at the deep end and expected to perform straight away they are getting alot of runs in first class cricket for years, or taking alot of 1st class wickets. Australia will go on dominating for years to come as when a player retires a more than capable one takes his place. Unlike say the Indians who change teams like we change our knickers, their test team is going to suffer greatly by the loss of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly, just like their one day team already suffers without them.

  • Kazza1 on February 5, 2008, 14:10 GMT

    I agree Gilchrist will be greatly missed he was so destructive in all forms of the game but he was down on runs and glovework was suffering too. Haddin by no means as great a player as Gilly, though he has been groomed to take over from Gilly for a few years now and Australia lose nothing with Haddin as a more than ready and capable replacement (you can never replace legends of the game with another legend). Haddin has averaged 50 in domestic cricket (the best and strongest domestic competition in the world) and has been playing for the Aussies now for a couple of seasons as a stand in for Gilly while he has been rested or as a batsmen.It's nonsense to say Australia will be much less dominate (more like wishful thinking by the other countries) the thing with Australia is they lost 2 of the best bowlers the world has ever seen in one go(not to mention Langer - who along with Hayden were the most successful opening batsmen ever, and Martyn who was a great and elegant batsmen too)

  • freddie_ribeiro on February 5, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Gilly in my opinion is a true-blue all rounder, the definition of which is someone who can play the role of two players in one. Gilchrist, I am sure most will agree, would justify his selection on his batting strength alone (and then maybe would have batted up the order). A batting average of close to 50 plus a world record in keeping dismissals - you are talking about (arguably) the finest allrounder the cricketing world has seen. Right up there with Sir Garry. In fact I would take this arguuament a little further and stick my neck out to say that Jonty Rhodes ws a bit of an all rounder as he (sometimes)justified his selection in the one-day side as a specialist fielder alone. Any takers ??

  • JayPmorgan on February 5, 2008, 13:25 GMT

    First of all I would say that The Don and Gilchrist are the two most surefire certs for an all time XI list, however I would take issue with classifiying Ghilchrist as an all rounder. To me the greatest all rounders would be able to get into a team on the basis of either their batting or bowling alone, i.e if their batting ave was below 10 they eould still make it as a bowler. Conversely if their bowling ave was above 40, their batting would ensure thier place. This qualifies a few people : Sobers , Miller , Imran , Botham , Kallis spring to mind. However, you cannot say that Gilchrist or any other keeper would now be able to get into the side on just their wicket keeping ability. Therefore they cannot be classed as all rounders and therefore have their own category. Ironically it was Gilly's exploits which redfined this genre to such an extent that you now need to average 40+ in order to be deemed any good

  • Nibsy on February 5, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    I think Gilchrist could have batted at 4 and had even better figures. So many times he came in when Australia were in trouble. The reason being their top 6 is not particularly that good over the years. Hayden and Ponting along with Hussey have been solid but the rest are average at best. Players like M Waugh, Lehmann, Katich, Martyn and Clarke to a lesser degree occupied batting slots that he could have come in at. I think he was wasted at 7. In his prime batting higher up the order he could have set some amazing records.

  • tushmath on February 5, 2008, 12:21 GMT

    One of the instances not mentioned when Gilly was promoted was when Aussies were visiting SriLanka(when Aus won 3-0) and in the 2nd innings he came at 3 or 4 and went on to score a match winning century

  • sachshj on February 5, 2008, 11:11 GMT

    Excellent article and lot of pointers for India, People like Dhoni and Pathan both have the potential to be great no. 7s for India, if used properly. Trying to make Pathan open as in Adeilade is ridiculous. Interestingly only Keeper batsman who would have overtaken Gilchrist is / was Sangakkara

  • bradg01 on February 5, 2008, 10:44 GMT

    The only reason Gilchrist was not pushed up to six was because the team did not need it.

    Warne, McGrath et al had no trouble bowling teams out so a fifth bowler wasn't needed. Also we had no decent bowling all-rounders to pick.

    If we had a weaker bowling attack Gilchrist would have been batting Tim, dont you worry about that.

  • Jaycamer on February 5, 2008, 10:38 GMT

    Ah the eternal question of what constitutes an all rounder...to me a true all rounder is born when people can't figure out why a bloke is in the team.If someone can cofidently say "that fellow is a batter who can bowl a bit or "a bowler who can bat a bit" that's not really true all rounder-ism to me. Using that yardstick the only TRUE contemporary all-rounders i can think of are Kallis and Flintoff.

    PS :- To the chaps who want to call Gilly an all-rounder You can't really call someone an all-rounder if they've only bowled 12 balls in any form of cricket...can you?? Perhaps that's why the experts coined the term "Wicketkeeper-Batsman"???

  • MillsChucks on February 5, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    Yes, I was thinking that while reading the article- how is it that a keeper-batsman cannot, or isn't recognised as an all-rounder? He was the world's best keeper and one of the most explosive, if not most potent batsman of his era. Together, that makes him the greater than most of the modern day hero all-rounders, who are of a bowling-batsman breed.

    Whichever way one looks at it Gilchrist was and is still a legend. As Tim stated, he has received the same if not more praise than McGrath and Warne due to his dignity both on and off the pitch. God Bless Gilly.

  • Namboodiripad on February 5, 2008, 9:55 GMT

    Australia as such rarely changes the batting order of their successful batsmen, unlike India. While for example Hayden has always opened the innings, Ponting and Bradman has always come in at number three. Similarly they rarely gave their best player the captaincy(Dennis Lillee, Mark Waugh & Shane Warne for example). Exceptions only prove the rule.

  • Indyman on February 5, 2008, 8:05 GMT

    Amen Tim!

    Cricket is going to be so boring without him but more importantly, Australia's dominance in both forms of the game will be greatly diminished.

  • GeethaKrishnan on February 5, 2008, 7:08 GMT

    There is only one point I would differ on: that Symonds could become the first true Aussie test all-rounder after Richie Benaud. I think the definition of an all-rounder who can both bat and bowl is a limited definition. I think Gilchrist has proved (and set the trend) that a wicket-keeper who can bat as well as Gilly did should be classified a genuine all-rounder. So I would argue that Gilly succeeded Richie Benaud as a true test all-rounder.

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  • GeethaKrishnan on February 5, 2008, 7:08 GMT

    There is only one point I would differ on: that Symonds could become the first true Aussie test all-rounder after Richie Benaud. I think the definition of an all-rounder who can both bat and bowl is a limited definition. I think Gilchrist has proved (and set the trend) that a wicket-keeper who can bat as well as Gilly did should be classified a genuine all-rounder. So I would argue that Gilly succeeded Richie Benaud as a true test all-rounder.

  • Indyman on February 5, 2008, 8:05 GMT

    Amen Tim!

    Cricket is going to be so boring without him but more importantly, Australia's dominance in both forms of the game will be greatly diminished.

  • Namboodiripad on February 5, 2008, 9:55 GMT

    Australia as such rarely changes the batting order of their successful batsmen, unlike India. While for example Hayden has always opened the innings, Ponting and Bradman has always come in at number three. Similarly they rarely gave their best player the captaincy(Dennis Lillee, Mark Waugh & Shane Warne for example). Exceptions only prove the rule.

  • MillsChucks on February 5, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    Yes, I was thinking that while reading the article- how is it that a keeper-batsman cannot, or isn't recognised as an all-rounder? He was the world's best keeper and one of the most explosive, if not most potent batsman of his era. Together, that makes him the greater than most of the modern day hero all-rounders, who are of a bowling-batsman breed.

    Whichever way one looks at it Gilchrist was and is still a legend. As Tim stated, he has received the same if not more praise than McGrath and Warne due to his dignity both on and off the pitch. God Bless Gilly.

  • Jaycamer on February 5, 2008, 10:38 GMT

    Ah the eternal question of what constitutes an all rounder...to me a true all rounder is born when people can't figure out why a bloke is in the team.If someone can cofidently say "that fellow is a batter who can bowl a bit or "a bowler who can bat a bit" that's not really true all rounder-ism to me. Using that yardstick the only TRUE contemporary all-rounders i can think of are Kallis and Flintoff.

    PS :- To the chaps who want to call Gilly an all-rounder You can't really call someone an all-rounder if they've only bowled 12 balls in any form of cricket...can you?? Perhaps that's why the experts coined the term "Wicketkeeper-Batsman"???

  • bradg01 on February 5, 2008, 10:44 GMT

    The only reason Gilchrist was not pushed up to six was because the team did not need it.

    Warne, McGrath et al had no trouble bowling teams out so a fifth bowler wasn't needed. Also we had no decent bowling all-rounders to pick.

    If we had a weaker bowling attack Gilchrist would have been batting Tim, dont you worry about that.

  • sachshj on February 5, 2008, 11:11 GMT

    Excellent article and lot of pointers for India, People like Dhoni and Pathan both have the potential to be great no. 7s for India, if used properly. Trying to make Pathan open as in Adeilade is ridiculous. Interestingly only Keeper batsman who would have overtaken Gilchrist is / was Sangakkara

  • tushmath on February 5, 2008, 12:21 GMT

    One of the instances not mentioned when Gilly was promoted was when Aussies were visiting SriLanka(when Aus won 3-0) and in the 2nd innings he came at 3 or 4 and went on to score a match winning century

  • Nibsy on February 5, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    I think Gilchrist could have batted at 4 and had even better figures. So many times he came in when Australia were in trouble. The reason being their top 6 is not particularly that good over the years. Hayden and Ponting along with Hussey have been solid but the rest are average at best. Players like M Waugh, Lehmann, Katich, Martyn and Clarke to a lesser degree occupied batting slots that he could have come in at. I think he was wasted at 7. In his prime batting higher up the order he could have set some amazing records.

  • JayPmorgan on February 5, 2008, 13:25 GMT

    First of all I would say that The Don and Gilchrist are the two most surefire certs for an all time XI list, however I would take issue with classifiying Ghilchrist as an all rounder. To me the greatest all rounders would be able to get into a team on the basis of either their batting or bowling alone, i.e if their batting ave was below 10 they eould still make it as a bowler. Conversely if their bowling ave was above 40, their batting would ensure thier place. This qualifies a few people : Sobers , Miller , Imran , Botham , Kallis spring to mind. However, you cannot say that Gilchrist or any other keeper would now be able to get into the side on just their wicket keeping ability. Therefore they cannot be classed as all rounders and therefore have their own category. Ironically it was Gilly's exploits which redfined this genre to such an extent that you now need to average 40+ in order to be deemed any good