No. 40 September 20, 2009

Gilchrist walks

An Australian giving his wicket away? At the World Cup? Truth is often stranger than fiction
27

Port Elizabeth, 18 March 2003

Australians only walk when their car has run out of petrol. But in the 2003 World Cup, Adam Gilchrist disproved that theory with an act of sportsmanship that generated almost universal approval along cricket supporters, and general bemusement, not to say disquiet, in the Australian dressing room.

It was the semi-final, and Gilchrist attempted to sweep the offspin of Aravinda de Silva, got a thin edge onto his pad and was caught behind. Rudi Koertzen, the umpire, did not respond to Sri Lanka's appeals but Gilchrist did. He paused, waited for the umpire's decision - or non-decision - then turned and headed for the pavilion.

It was an astonishing moment, partly because it was an Australian, partly because it was such an important game, and partly because the nature of that type of dismissal is rarely clear-cut.

Gilchrist's decision had no bearing on the result - Australia won comfortably - but it seemed to be a symbol of a more enlightened, free-spirited approach in the post-Waugh era. Of course, under duress these good intentions can go out of the window; there weren't many Australians walking in the 2005 Ashes.

There were some dissenting voices about Gilchrist's action. Some, like Angus Fraser, objected to him being canonised simply for not cheating. Others thought that he walked almost by accident; that having played his shot he overbalanced in the direction of the pavilion and simply carried on going. Both are harsh judgments. It was a remarkable occurrence, and one that should be held as an example to all cricketers.

John Stern is editor of the Wisden Cricketer. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Somerset-Richard on September 22, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Apart from Gilly's obvious ability to score test match runs at a very fast rate, and being a genuine all-round wicketkeeper-batsman, the reputation for being one of only a few "walkers" is why he is one of the most admired Aussie cricketers amongst us Poms.

  • sandeepberry on September 21, 2009, 21:49 GMT

    What can you say? Gillly is a giant amongst men. This is a trait which sets him apart from other cricketers. he embodies what the sport is all about. Good on yer

  • smitu on September 21, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    I think so one shouldn't walk, until the decision given is pathetic. Because no bowler will give you a second chance if you're given out incorrectly-which happens quite often. In most cases, the correct decisions and the wrong decisions even out over a span of few years. The other point is that, no batsmen is going to walk when he needs his wicket the most. Would Gilchrist have walked in an innings where he desperately needed to score runs to keep a place in the team....???

  • number-09 on September 21, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    And Brian walked irrespective of the nature of the game. Any credit for that.

  • number-09 on September 21, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Geez, Gilchrist walking is a revelation? Viv Richards walked as soon as he nicked a ball. Lara was known for disappearing from the crease a soon as he nicked the ball, and before the umpire knew what was happening. And it was a frequent occurrence and one we thought nothing of.

  • bingohaley on September 21, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Yes definitely the most sporting gesture was that of Vishy to recall Taylor. Vishy was probably among the last gentlemen who played the sport!

  • BiSONN on September 21, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    Loving this feature! Great to remember such memorable moments in cricket, and yes, this truly was one of them!

    Keep up the great work. Looking forward to the next magic moment :)

  • Dalxy on September 21, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    There is no mention of "walking" in Spirit of Cricket (the preamble to the Laws of Cricket). However "to appeal knowing that the batsman is not out" is against the spirit of the game, and I believe (I may be wrong) that Gilchrist did this more times than he walked. I'm not saying he is a bad bloke, but it is worth a thought.

  • Timu on September 21, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    I thinks its unfair to look down on batsman who choose not to walk. I find that those sort of comments usually come from people who haven't played the game very much. The reality of batting is that you get a lot of calls that go against you, and alot that also go with you. Ive been out caught off my pads and off bump balls, LBW of inside edges, even LBW dancing down the wicket! Conversely Ive also been not out when Ive nicked the ball through to the keeper, and Im sure Ive been lucky with LBWs more then my fair share as well. In the end, your luck tends to even out, both as a batter and a bowler. As long as your happy to accept the umpires mistakes, whether it be for you or against you, then I don't see it as bad sportsmanship. I think its the least complicated way for everyone, umpires and players.

  • SoftwareStar on September 20, 2009, 21:46 GMT

    happy that he walked.. it is a very hard thing to do.. but is this such a big issue to be written about as a magic moment? i remember 2 other people who always walked; Gundappa Vishwanath and Brian Lara and they never seem to get any credit for it. i think GRV's golden jubilee test's gesture was a much more magical moment than this.. why are the cricinfo authors so short-sighted..?

  • Somerset-Richard on September 22, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Apart from Gilly's obvious ability to score test match runs at a very fast rate, and being a genuine all-round wicketkeeper-batsman, the reputation for being one of only a few "walkers" is why he is one of the most admired Aussie cricketers amongst us Poms.

  • sandeepberry on September 21, 2009, 21:49 GMT

    What can you say? Gillly is a giant amongst men. This is a trait which sets him apart from other cricketers. he embodies what the sport is all about. Good on yer

  • smitu on September 21, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    I think so one shouldn't walk, until the decision given is pathetic. Because no bowler will give you a second chance if you're given out incorrectly-which happens quite often. In most cases, the correct decisions and the wrong decisions even out over a span of few years. The other point is that, no batsmen is going to walk when he needs his wicket the most. Would Gilchrist have walked in an innings where he desperately needed to score runs to keep a place in the team....???

  • number-09 on September 21, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    And Brian walked irrespective of the nature of the game. Any credit for that.

  • number-09 on September 21, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Geez, Gilchrist walking is a revelation? Viv Richards walked as soon as he nicked a ball. Lara was known for disappearing from the crease a soon as he nicked the ball, and before the umpire knew what was happening. And it was a frequent occurrence and one we thought nothing of.

  • bingohaley on September 21, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Yes definitely the most sporting gesture was that of Vishy to recall Taylor. Vishy was probably among the last gentlemen who played the sport!

  • BiSONN on September 21, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    Loving this feature! Great to remember such memorable moments in cricket, and yes, this truly was one of them!

    Keep up the great work. Looking forward to the next magic moment :)

  • Dalxy on September 21, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    There is no mention of "walking" in Spirit of Cricket (the preamble to the Laws of Cricket). However "to appeal knowing that the batsman is not out" is against the spirit of the game, and I believe (I may be wrong) that Gilchrist did this more times than he walked. I'm not saying he is a bad bloke, but it is worth a thought.

  • Timu on September 21, 2009, 2:04 GMT

    I thinks its unfair to look down on batsman who choose not to walk. I find that those sort of comments usually come from people who haven't played the game very much. The reality of batting is that you get a lot of calls that go against you, and alot that also go with you. Ive been out caught off my pads and off bump balls, LBW of inside edges, even LBW dancing down the wicket! Conversely Ive also been not out when Ive nicked the ball through to the keeper, and Im sure Ive been lucky with LBWs more then my fair share as well. In the end, your luck tends to even out, both as a batter and a bowler. As long as your happy to accept the umpires mistakes, whether it be for you or against you, then I don't see it as bad sportsmanship. I think its the least complicated way for everyone, umpires and players.

  • SoftwareStar on September 20, 2009, 21:46 GMT

    happy that he walked.. it is a very hard thing to do.. but is this such a big issue to be written about as a magic moment? i remember 2 other people who always walked; Gundappa Vishwanath and Brian Lara and they never seem to get any credit for it. i think GRV's golden jubilee test's gesture was a much more magical moment than this.. why are the cricinfo authors so short-sighted..?

  • ankushjain75 on September 20, 2009, 20:18 GMT

    Yes, I also agree it is a display of good sportmanship, but is it right to shout at an opposition batsmen when he's not walked and not saying anything to own teammates?..and how can gilly claim for a catch that he know's full well did not take the outside of a batsman bat and then appea(rahul dravid 2nd test sydney)l??...I ask is this not the same principle??..and the when asked he has responded 'we appeal and it's then up to the umpire'..well by leading the umpire down the wrong path I ask what kind of sportmanship is this??...gilly a fair man..I THINK NOT!!

  • convertorboy on September 20, 2009, 19:03 GMT

    Players should be acknowledged for these gestures of sportsmanship... I would definitely love to see more players live up to the spirit of the game. Gilly was a treasure, and it was unfortunate he had the shadow of Healy to contend with.

  • Charindra on September 20, 2009, 18:13 GMT

    I used to love Gilly around after he did this as he appeared to be a beacon of hope among all the dishonesty going around... But I must say I lost a lot of respect for him as soon as I heard what he had said about Sachin and Murali in his autobiography.

  • Karthiks_devils on September 20, 2009, 16:24 GMT

    i don't think it is anything to make it so huge. I as a coach never advise anybody to walk. The umpries are there to give their decisions, why should we do their job or make it easy, no one makes it easy for us..

  • cnn on September 20, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    Awesome gesture from Gilchrist that deserves to be applauded by one and all. But what about Gundappa Vishwanath's gesture in the Jubilee Test at Bombay in 1980? As captain of India, with the match evenly poised, Vishy actually recalled Bob Taylor who had wrongly been given out and was half-way back to the pavilion. Taylor went on to support Ian Botham in a match-winning partnership. Who knows India may have actually won but for Vishy's sportive intervention? Vishy surely deserves his share in what is known as "Botham's Test"? Also worth recall is Courtney Walsh's gesture of not running out Salim Jaffer in the 1987 World Cup. Of course, this does not reduce Gilly's sportsmanship. But Vishy and Walsh deserve a mention too.

  • Itchy on September 20, 2009, 11:38 GMT

    "'there weren't many Australians walking in the 2005 Ashes" - usually they didn't get a chance to walk as they had been given out incorrectly already!

  • bingohaley on September 20, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    Fully agree with Naren! A batter feels in very many cases the micrometer vibrations that propagate through the wood after a nick, not always but in very many cases. He is the only person who potentially knows whether the nick has been made or not. Standing behind the wickets is not the same..... so it is a different situation altogether. And apart from a few including Dravid nobody is decent enough to walk.

  • Jonathan_E on September 20, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    On the one hand, any batsman is to be applauded for "walking" when he knows he's nicked it and the umpire doesn't. Just like any fielder who knows the ball hasn't carried, should refuse to appeal even if all his mates around him appeal.

    On the other hand, it's entirely one thing to do it in a match where the result is already pretty much set in stone, and quite another to do it in a match where the result is in doubt...

    What happens if a batsman gets a persistent reputation for being a "walker"... and then doesn't walk, at an important moment in an important match, and the umpire who was about to put his finger up is conned into giving it "not out", on the batsman's word, even though he originally thought otherwise... and Snickometer subsequently proves that the batsman did nick it?

    (Not that this particularly happened to Gilchrist - usually when he was out, he was unquestionably out, like stumps going flying or a big slog caught in the deep, or a hard-hit slash to gully...)

  • ARJUNSABU on September 20, 2009, 10:49 GMT

    its the real sports man ship a big hats off u gilly .we all appalud u r sport man ship

  • areejit on September 20, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Brian Lara walked throughout his career, for instance, in the last test on the 1994 series in India when he was on 91. He hardly seems to be given credit for that.

  • Bondy13 on September 20, 2009, 10:38 GMT

    It still doesn't make up for the underarm!

  • Melanzie on September 20, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    Go Gilchrist!!! That was one of the biggest acts of sportsmanship ever seen in the history of sport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kanthsanka on September 20, 2009, 8:42 GMT

    It was an astonishing moment, partly because it was an Australian

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nipun on September 20, 2009, 7:22 GMT

    Yes,this was indeed remarkable,but won't Mohammad Rafique's not-running out of Umar Gul when he backing up too far in Multan 2003 make your list ? That was a huge occasion;Bangladesh was on the verge of their first test win after a disastrous World Cup 2003.Had Umar Gul been run out that time,Bangladesh would have got off the mark in all probability.Courtney Walsh's similar gesture is acknowledged all over the world,whereas hardly anyone knows that Rafique performed a similar gesture.If cricinfo's selection of magic moments are fair,then both incidents should make their mark,& separately.

  • ishanr111 on September 20, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    yeah that was a very good gesture by Gilli..This has inspired People like Sangakkara who at the time was behind the stump when that incident happened) to walk as well. Only thing is its sad to see umpires like Koertzen still continuing to make such bad decisions.

  • murtii on September 20, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    There seems to be a slight bit of bitterness in this piece. I mean how many Englishmen walked in the 2005 Ashes? Or ANYONE in a World Cup semi-final? My point being, all other magic moments have just had praise directed at whoever it is that produced the magic moments. So why not write about this specific incident and give Gilchrist the utmost praise and respect the action deserved, rather than continuous references to how odd it was because he's an Aussie and mentioning that they didn't walk in the Ashes! And to add to that, i'm quite sure Gilchrist walked a couple other times too! Legend i say!

  • Naren on September 20, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Instead of applauding him, people around the world were pretty harsh on him. Some of the most idiotic comments I have heard is he walks when he loses his wicket but appeals for catches when the batsman does not nick. Rubbish the keeper cannot be always sure of a nick and all batsman are no Gilly to walk. The fact is he walked everytime. Players have forgotten that this is a Gentleman's game. If everybody walked when they nicked or if players appealed only when they caught it.. the umpires won't be under this much pressure. Sad part is nobody followed Gilchrist's way. Not even Sachin.. which is a shame.

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  • Naren on September 20, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Instead of applauding him, people around the world were pretty harsh on him. Some of the most idiotic comments I have heard is he walks when he loses his wicket but appeals for catches when the batsman does not nick. Rubbish the keeper cannot be always sure of a nick and all batsman are no Gilly to walk. The fact is he walked everytime. Players have forgotten that this is a Gentleman's game. If everybody walked when they nicked or if players appealed only when they caught it.. the umpires won't be under this much pressure. Sad part is nobody followed Gilchrist's way. Not even Sachin.. which is a shame.

  • murtii on September 20, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    There seems to be a slight bit of bitterness in this piece. I mean how many Englishmen walked in the 2005 Ashes? Or ANYONE in a World Cup semi-final? My point being, all other magic moments have just had praise directed at whoever it is that produced the magic moments. So why not write about this specific incident and give Gilchrist the utmost praise and respect the action deserved, rather than continuous references to how odd it was because he's an Aussie and mentioning that they didn't walk in the Ashes! And to add to that, i'm quite sure Gilchrist walked a couple other times too! Legend i say!

  • ishanr111 on September 20, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    yeah that was a very good gesture by Gilli..This has inspired People like Sangakkara who at the time was behind the stump when that incident happened) to walk as well. Only thing is its sad to see umpires like Koertzen still continuing to make such bad decisions.

  • Nipun on September 20, 2009, 7:22 GMT

    Yes,this was indeed remarkable,but won't Mohammad Rafique's not-running out of Umar Gul when he backing up too far in Multan 2003 make your list ? That was a huge occasion;Bangladesh was on the verge of their first test win after a disastrous World Cup 2003.Had Umar Gul been run out that time,Bangladesh would have got off the mark in all probability.Courtney Walsh's similar gesture is acknowledged all over the world,whereas hardly anyone knows that Rafique performed a similar gesture.If cricinfo's selection of magic moments are fair,then both incidents should make their mark,& separately.

  • kanthsanka on September 20, 2009, 8:42 GMT

    It was an astonishing moment, partly because it was an Australian

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!

  • Melanzie on September 20, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    Go Gilchrist!!! That was one of the biggest acts of sportsmanship ever seen in the history of sport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bondy13 on September 20, 2009, 10:38 GMT

    It still doesn't make up for the underarm!

  • areejit on September 20, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Brian Lara walked throughout his career, for instance, in the last test on the 1994 series in India when he was on 91. He hardly seems to be given credit for that.

  • ARJUNSABU on September 20, 2009, 10:49 GMT

    its the real sports man ship a big hats off u gilly .we all appalud u r sport man ship

  • Jonathan_E on September 20, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    On the one hand, any batsman is to be applauded for "walking" when he knows he's nicked it and the umpire doesn't. Just like any fielder who knows the ball hasn't carried, should refuse to appeal even if all his mates around him appeal.

    On the other hand, it's entirely one thing to do it in a match where the result is already pretty much set in stone, and quite another to do it in a match where the result is in doubt...

    What happens if a batsman gets a persistent reputation for being a "walker"... and then doesn't walk, at an important moment in an important match, and the umpire who was about to put his finger up is conned into giving it "not out", on the batsman's word, even though he originally thought otherwise... and Snickometer subsequently proves that the batsman did nick it?

    (Not that this particularly happened to Gilchrist - usually when he was out, he was unquestionably out, like stumps going flying or a big slog caught in the deep, or a hard-hit slash to gully...)