Adam Gilchrist, former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman and a three-time World Cup winner, belongs to a select group of cricketers who went on to revolutionize a particular role during their time as an international cricketer.
Before the arrival of Adam Gilchrist, a wicketkeeper was picked primarily for the skills behind the wickets and his batting was perceived as an added bonus. Gilchrist, courtesy his swashbuckling batting, went on to change that perception forever and post that we have seen a whole host of wicketkeepers with outrageous batting skills.
Things were, however, not that hunky-dory for GIlly when he initially started out. Gilchrist started his FC career with New South Wales but the presence of Phil Emery soon forced the champion keeper-batsman to Western Australia.
Speaking on The Pitch Side Expert Podcast, Adam Gilchrist recently revealed how he was booed by the passionate WACA crowd and its members.
‘Tim Zoehrer, a former international cricketer, a great servant to Western Australia and indeed Australian cricket. They flicked him, the state selectors and put an unknown New South Welshman in there, by the name of Adam Gilchrist,” Adam Gilchrist said.
“I copped a barrage from the crowd, very parochial West Australian crowd. Even the members were giving it to me, they weren’t sure what was going on but I remember at the time, just thinking, ‘I don’t need to be Tim Zoehre,” he recalled.
‘He was a very athletic, attacking batsman down at number seven, scored hundreds in first-class cricket. But I remember just thinking that I don’t need to be him, all I need to do is the foundation of hard work and earn the respect of, first of all, my peers within the team, and hopefully, if you get that, that would probably mean that you start to garner some respect from the crowd. So that was the first step.” the three-time World Cup winner said.
When Adam Gilchrist was booed on his Test debut
Two years later [1999 home summer], Adam Gilchrist found himself in a similar position when he replaced his ‘idol’ Ian Healy in the national team against Pakistan at the Gabba.
”All of a sudden, a couple of years later I found myself in a very similar situation with Ian Healy, the one that’s been left out at the expense of me coming in. And I walk out at the Gabba and get booed all the way out on the Gabba. I idolised Ian Healy. I loved watching him play, my early teenage years, just observing him and just dreaming of being in that position,” Gilchrist reminisced.
”So when I got there I just thought, ‘Right, I don’t need to be him. But just learn everything I can from him and try to, again, garner that respect from the teammates and then hopefully the crowd.’ So I was just trying to be the best wicketkeeper that was available for the team at that time, and I had enormous support from the team that was around me.” he added
It would just take just one Test match for Gilly to shut down all his detractors as he smoked the Pakistani attack to all corners of the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, to guide Australia to an unlikely victory.