The 1999 World Cup Semi-Final Ratings – Adam Gilchrist

at 2017.09.07
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Between 27 May, 1999 and 16 March, 2011, Australia played 34 completed Cricket World Cup matches. They won 33 of them.

Here are the ratings for the one game they didn’t win.

Adam Gilchrist
Grade: A

In 2007, Cricket Australia conducted a poll, as they are prone to do. Like most cricket polls, the question was a simple one that could easily be distorted by an influx of votes for Virat Kohli.

Luckily for Cricket Australia, Kohli was still a year away from making his ODI debut, thereby limiting the ability of his fans to make their influence felt on the poll results.

Also helping maintain the integrity of the poll was Cricket Australia’s decision to limit eligibility to vote in the poll to those cricketers who had played one day internationals for Australia. Oh, and also the poll question, which was ‘Who was Australia’s greatest ever one day international player?’.

It was only by combining these three elements that Cricket Australia were able to ensure that Kohli did not win the poll.

Instead, that honour fell to Adam Gilchrist, who received 38% of the votes, ahead of Ricky Ponting (19%) and Steve Waugh (14%). (Virat Kohli came fourth with 12%.)

Adam Gilchrist honoured to receive his award as Australia's best ever ODI player

Adam Gilchrist honoured to receive his award as Australia’s best ever ODI player

Naturally, Gilchrist was humbled and honoured by the regard in which his peers held him. Equally naturally, he expressed his humility and gratitude for the honour with earnest niceness. This was the same kind of earnest niceness that tended to elicit comparisons with Richie Cunningham from his more Fonz-aspirational team-mates.

On the field. Off the field. Near the field. Pretty much everything Gilchrist did was effortlessly successful, as many of the extraordinary facts that follow will testify.

EXTRAORDINARY ADAM GILCHRIST FACTS

Adam Gilchrist hit a half-century in the 1999 World Cup Final, another one in the 2003 World Cup Final and then finished his World Cup career with a century in the 2007 World Cup Final.

His 2007 World Cup Final century was scored despite a dressing room prankster (believed to be Shaun Tait) putting a squash ball in his glove.

Adam Gilchrist once forgot he was playing a Test match and scored the fastest century in Ashes history off just 57 balls.

During a similar period of absentmindedness over what form of the game he was playing, he also broke the record for the fastest double century in Test cricket history.

In fact, so often did the addled Gilchrist forget he was playing a Test match that he carelessly became the first player to hit one hundred sixes in Tests. Although, it must be pointed out, not in the one innings.

In the World Cup 2003 semi-final against Sri Lanka, Adam Gilchrist chose to walk despite not being given out by the umpire, infuriating his captain Ricky Ponting, who thought his walking was ‘insensitive to paraplegics’.

Adam Gilchrist was named Australia’s ODI Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004. In 2003, he also won the Allan Border Medal, named after the legendary Australian captain of the 1980s, Allan Border-Medal.

Adam GIlchrist’s nickname was Churchy, because he once built a church with his bare hands, using only cricket balls he’d hit for six in World Cup finals. Sure, it was a small church, but it was still bigger than one you could build.

Adam Gilchrist was named after 1950s West Indian bowler Roy Gilchrist, who, in turn, was named after a time-travelling Andrew ‘Roy’ Symonds.

Adam Gilchrist’s trademark ears are insured for $1.5 million Australian dollars.

Look. Some of those facts may not be strictly true. But they’re all certainly extraordinary. And that’s more important these days.

Indeed, such an extraordinary cricketer was Adam Gilchrist that it’s sometimes difficult to remember that when he started his ODI career, nobody really knew what to do with him. He made his debut in the limited over form of the game in 1996 against South Africa as a temporary replacement for the injured Ian Healy and didn’t particularly impress with the bat.

Fortunately for Gilchrist, by this stage of his career, Healy didn’t particularly tend to impress with the bat either. But even when Gilchrist became an untemporary replacement for the uninjured Healy in ODIs as part of the new era in Australian cricket that also saw Waugh replace Taylor as limited overs captain, the new Australian keeper showed little sign that he would someday beat VIrat Kohli to the distinguished title of Australia’s greatest ever ODI cricketer.

That 1997-98 Carlton and United tri-series saw South Africa running rampant through the preliminary rounds, losing only the one game to New Zealand and winning every single game against the new era Australia. Gilchrist averaged an underwhelming 26 in those games, batting primarily at six or seven.

And then during the change of innings break of the first final, Steve Waugh decided on a mad ice cream-induced whim to invite Gilchrist to become an ODI opener.

Presumably Waugh just needed to find somebody amenable enough to bat with his brother and therefore willed Gilchrist to become the greatest ODI cricketer Australia had ever seen.

Pretty strong captaincy, really, all things considered.

(to be continued)

(Here’s the 1999 World Cup Semi-Final Ratings master page.)

The 1999 World Cup Semi-Final Ratings – Steve Waugh

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