Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist has opened up on his forgettable 2005 Ashes campaign which Australia lost by 2-1 under the leadership of Ricky Ponting. The series was one of the greatest Ashes rubbers and arguably one of the most entertaining five-match legs. Adam Gilchrist was one of those struggled during the series, averaging 22.62 in five fixtures across ten innings in England without recording even a single half-century.
Adam Gilchrist built his reputation as a game-changer for Australia lower down the order in Test cricket, striking at 81.95 with 5570 runs and 17 centuries. While the southpaw already proved explosive in the limited-overs format, he redefined the role of a keeper-batsman in the longest version. However, against the likes of Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard, and Steve Harmison, even the Western Australian could not make his bat talk.
Gilchrist, who became Flintoff’s victim four times in the series from round the wicket, stated that the Englishmen with Michael Vaughan as captain and bowling attack was a very clever tactic, unable to make quick adjustments. The 96-Test veteran added that it was the point where he felt strangled and afraid of failing.
“That was my one time where I was absolutely being strangled by self-doubt and fear of failing. Just that it felt like the England team and Vaughany [Michael Vaughan], and Freddie [Flintoff] obviously, more so with the ball but even that whole attack, the field positioning, the tactic of coming around the wicket, which I don’t think was necessarily ever a well-thought-out clever tactic, they just came about [with it] and were quick enough to realise that, and latch onto it and make adjustments, and I wasn’t able to,” the 48-year-old Adam Gilchrist said as quoted by Wisden.
Gilchrist further said that heading into the third Test at Manchester where they had to force out a draw to keep the series alive; he was not feeling himself. He said that he felt terrified of his technique not fetching desired results due to which there existed plenty of self-doubt and uncertainty.
“That was the first time I remember going into games, particularly by the time we got up to the third Test at Manchester. Going there where we had to try and bat out that last day to salvage a draw. Just feeling so unnatural and fighting my natural instincts, but through fear of it not working. And then trying to just occupy the crease, and that was never going to work. So that probably was the primary time in my career when I really felt suffocated by some self-doubt and uncertainty,” he added.
That’s courage and we saw that through his whole career: Adam Gilchrist
Walking into the final Test at the Oval, the hosts took a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. Adam Gilchrist hailed the flamboyance and authority with which Kevin Pietersen batted the entire series, continuing that the fraternity saw throughout his career.
Pietersen mustered a 187-ball 158 in the final match of the series, resulting in a draw as England reclaimed the Ashes urn for the first time since retaining in 1986-87.
“And on the flip side of that,” Gilchrist continued, “it’s not just the guy that can bat the long, drawn-out innings to save a Test or set up a Test, the flamboyant ones need that mental strength [as well].”
“On the last day of that series, Kevin Pietersen’s ability to walk out there, to stroke with good fortune, he was dropped early, but then [the] preparedness to take it on and just basically take that day, that game and that trophy away from us, on the back of a hell lot of other good work from his teammates. That’s courage and we saw that through his whole career,” Gilchrist said.