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Behind the sheen Adam Gilchrist says it like it is
Behind the sheen Adam Gilchrist says it like it is

Adam Gilchrist’s autobiography True Colours reveals lesser-known facts about him and his team

I tried everything, even getting up from the wrong side of the bed,” Adam Gilchrist stated after the qualifying stages of the first Indian Premier League (IPL) last year. The Deccan Chargers had finished at the bottom of the heap. While his Royal Challengers counterpart Rahul Dravid heaved a sigh of relief for not being stuck with the wooden spoon, Gilchrist, an integral part of the awe-inspiring Australian squad that clinched three World Cup crowns, was humility personified, handling the ignominy of defeat with humour.

This time round, he’s been rated the most valued player (MVP) of the league, but very few would know that Gilchrist, so used to the winning habit, had his share of setbacks. Only that he shook them off to emerge stronger, with honesty and fair play for trusted companions. He takes pains, however, to rid himself of the squeaky clean image in his autobiography, True Colours.

His life-story is fascinating; he gets candid about his own failings, without being patronising about flaws in others. Absent is the arrogance so often attributed to the Australian juggernaut which for over a decade conquered every challenge that came its way. Rich in anecdotes, he shares his days of struggle, the hard work, doubts about his delayed debut in Tests, calling it the Prince Charles phenomenon, where the royal’s wait to ascend the throne seems nowhere in sight!

A product of the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide, he narrates an incident about a late night drinking party. Director Rod Marsh thrust the boys into the swimming pool at 6 A.M. next morning to show the lads that alcohol and chlorine don’t mix! The string of flops in the fiercely contested Sheffield Shield competitions, now renamed the Pura Cup, a shift from his native New South Wales to Western Australia, the heckling by home crowds, the swashbuckler has seen it all.

Reviled even by Test mates as an establishment lackey, it takes him quite a while to win their respect and acceptance, towering performances fuelling his emergence as Gilchrist the gladiator. The changes in captaincy of the world’s most admired team, the under-currents and camps within the side, the emergence of Steve Waugh as undisputed leader, backed by John Buchanan’s efforts to bring about a tightly knit unit, all make for riveting reading.

English cricket writer Henry Blofeld found Gilchrist the ‘pick of the bunch,’ on the tour of Old Blighty, while Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, the revered umpire was certain the awesome Aussie was bound for glory. Need we say that their predictions proved prophetic?

A. JOSEPH ANTONY

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