Will asked for my thoughts on Peter Roebuck’s article on Adam Gilchrist, where Roebuck suggested that Gilchrist might wish to retire from the ODI game.
It is true that too much of a workload can be put on even the mightiest cricketer. Injury to Ricky Ponting required Adam Gilchrist to captain Australia for the first three Tests of Australia’s tour to India in 2004, and although he lead the side superbly, there is no doubt that it did have a negative effect on his batting and his wicketkeeping.
However, once Gilchrist returned to Australia, and reduced to his normal duties of keeper, vice-captain, and star batsman, he played like a man liberated, and had perhaps his best season since he started. He starred as a batsman in 2004/05. The highlight for me was his century against Pakistan in Sydney, an innings so exhilirating to watch that it overshadowed a Ricky Ponting double-century. But not only was his bat blazing, but his glovework also was of the highest standard.
For reasons that remain unknown, Gilchrist disappointed in England. Congratulations are due to England and Andrew Flintoff for working out a plan to reduce the threat that Gilchrist posed, but I was disappointed in that it seemed to me that Adam Gilchrist was not getting the support he needed to counter England’s tactics. And yes, his glovework was not quite so sharp.
Given his moderate performances since then, it is perhaps legitimate for Roebuck to pose the question that he did. Adam Gilchrist works under a heavy workload that can not be any easier for him to bear. It is known that he is a devoted family man, as well, and the constant absences and the life of a long-distance cricketer is not healthy for any young family.
I do not think, however, that Gilchrist will retire just yet. Although Australia have a busy summer ahead, with a tour to South Africa and then Bangladesh in April, there is nevertheless a nice gap in the winter where Adam Gilchrist can recover in the bosum of his family in Perth, recharge the batteries, and then have one final fling- first, a campaign to recover the Ashes, and then to the West Indies to retain the World Cup.
I would not be surprised if he retired from all forms of the game after that, but I would equally be very surprised if he retired from one day cricket before then.