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The mark of a champion

Nikhil Varma
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Interview Adam Gilchrist talks about the challenges the game faces and the exciting cricket season ahead

GAME, ALWAYS!Adam GilchristPhoto: K. Bhagya Prakash
GAME, ALWAYS!Adam GilchristPhoto: K. Bhagya Prakash

How do you define success for a champion sportsperson who has been part of a cricket team that won three World Cups, two of them without losing a single match, won an unprecedented 16 Test matches on-the-trot twice, and was on the top of the cricketing world for almost 12 years?

Adam Gilchrist, who was a vital cog of that all-conquering Australian cricket team, says that being part of such an outfit is a great honour. He was in Bangalore recently for a promotional event of the University of Wollongong. It offers the UOW Bradman Foundation Scholarship that provides an opportunity for a young Indian cricketer to study at the university.

Gold standard

As the battle for Test supremacy intensifies, with the start of the cricket season, Gilchrist contends that winning overseas must be the gold standard for any good Test team. “The teams I was part of were considered great because we won overseas on a regular basis…Tests are the highest form of the game and are considered the acme by the players. Conditions in the subcontinent and in the rest of the cricketing world are very different. The best players will do well in both arenas.”

Sachin Tendulkar was recently awarded the Order of Australia, one of the highest civilian awards in Australia. Gilchrist says, “It is a tribute to his abilities and skill that the award has received so much attention. The very fact that such an honorary award can create such a buzz when it is awarded to a legend such as Sachin is a testament to his game. You cannot doubt the quality that he brings into the game. Cricket is a love that both our countries share.”

Changes in the game

ICC, in a bid to get more eyeballs and make the game more ‘competitive’ has been bringing about alterations to the format. The one-day game has seen a plethora of changes and ICC has allowed test matches to be played as day-night games. Are these changes good for the game?

“I understand that these changes are being undertaken to bring more interest and eyeballs to the game. Test cricket must be in the traditional form and must not be tinkered with. The immense money that has flowed into the game following the T20 revolution must be used for the benefit of the longest format of the game.”

The Indian Premier league has been in the news recently, with Gilchrist’s former franchise, Deccan Chargers being terminated by the BCCI.

He contends, “It is a terrific competition. The fans love it and the players enjoy being part of it. However, it has grown exponentially and has undergone too many changes over the last five years. The shuffling of players within three years, the manner in which some financial issues were overlooked have not been healthy and have made it difficult to build fan loyalty. We need to work out a good solution to these problems.”

NIKHIL VARMA

The teams I was part

of were considered great because we won overseas

on a regular basis…

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