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Adam Gilchrist: Having different ‘keepers across formats not an issue for Australia

While New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill keeps wickets in Tests and T20 Internationals for Australia, Matthew Wade takes up the duties in the 50-over format.

Adam Gilchrist said he always used to prioritise his wicketkeeping work, more than anything else © Getty Images
Adam Gilchrist said he always used to prioritise his wicketkeeping work, more than anything else © Getty Images

Australia’s former wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist feels having different wicketkeepers for different formats is not a disruption. While New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill keeps wickets in Tests and T20 Internationals for Australia, Matthew Wade takes up the duties in the 50-over format. While Nevill, is regarded as one of the sharpest gloveman in Australia at the moment, Wade’s ability to score quick with the bat, along with his versatility, gives him the edge in ODIs. While both the players have expressed desires to play in all three formats, Gilchrist feels the team woould not suffer with the changing of wicketkeepers across formats. He also says, it was the decision to select specific gloveman across formats, that gave his career a necessary jumpstart.

“I’m sure they (Nevill and Wade) are both striving to be the one (wicketkeeper) in all three positions,” said Gilchrist as quoted by Cricket.com.au. “It’s a different landscape compared to when even I was playing let alone 20 years before that. One of the great breaks I had was when they decided to pick a Test team and a one-day team. There was a big overlap of players but the ‘keeping position was one where I got my chance. Ian Healy was told they (Australia’s selectors) wanted him to focus on Tests and that got me in the one-day setup.” READ: How’s that! Adam Gilchrist wants this actor to play his role in his biopic

Gilchrist added, “It’s not foreign to have different players in different teams. I don’t see it upsetting the rhythm of the team. There’s a reason why the selectors have gone that way, they’ve stipulated that. “It’s up to them to work out whether that’s been a success or they need to re-think it. I don’t think it affects the players – they’ve all got to be versatile in their thinking and preparation now. The players now are striving to nail a spot down for themselves but I don’t see it upsetting anything.” READ: Adam Gilchrist reveals tough times vs Harbhajan Singh and Muthiah Muralitharan

Gilchrist, known for his destructive abilities at the opening slot in limited-overs cricket, and for his No.7 position in Test cricket, where he scored 3,948 runs and 12 centuries, (more than any other player in that slot). was not just known for his smashing strokeplay, but also for being a quick wicketkeeper. With 416 Test dismissals and 472 ODI dismissals, he is only behind Mark Bouncher and Kumar Sangakkara.

Gilchrist also explained that he always used to prioritise his wicketkeeping work, more than anything else, despite knowing the fact that modern wicketkeepers are judged more on the runs that they make, rather than the catches they take.

“One-day cricket changed that,” Gilchrist said when asked if a wicketkeeper’s ability to bat is regarded as a important criteria than glovework, when selection takes place. “That really changed the whole focus for 7,8,9,10,11 having to contribute with the bat. In first-class cricket you could get away with it, but short-version cricket changed that and a whole number of people changed it. The Sri Lankans in ’96 totally stunned the world with what they did with a keeper-batsman at the top and dashing after the first 15 overs.”

He added, “I probably played my little part but all I wanted to do was to be the best wicketkeeper they (the selectors) could pick. It was of higher priority for me to perfect with the gloves than getting runs. If I had a good day with the gloves it far outweighed any runs that I scored ‘cause you’re the only ‘keeper – everyone’s got to bat at some stage but you’re the only one with the gloves on. I think all ‘keepers operate under that mantra, still priding themselves on being the best keeper they can be whilst still working on that other aspect of their game.”

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