Adam Gilchrist’s legacy has become a curse

Clayton Waters Roar Rookie

By Clayton Waters, Clayton Waters is a Roar Rookie New author!


29 Have your say

    Not many cricket stories that reference Australia’s latests performances don’t include criticism or surprise that our current wicket keepers have performed well.

    Our recent tour of Bangladesh had us all bashing the proverbial selectors door demanding Matt Wade be dropped after 30+ byes and some poor overall keeping. Was this really a reason? Or was it the fact he scored under ten in both innings? The role of the keeper in cricket today has been changed forever – thanks to one fine player, Adam ‘Gilly’ Gilchrist.

    Adam Gilchrist changed the face of what it meant to ‘keep wickets’ but to also be one the most dominating batsmen of the 2000s. You can only imagine playing Australia during his time and thinking that you are into the tail and then Gilly walks out.

    Test average of 47 and a ODI average of 35 with a strike rate board line 100, the game has only just began for the bowling side.

    Prior to the Gilly era, we had arguably the best glove man in Australian history Ian Healy running the ship. Your more traditional keeper, he only averaged 27 with the stick – but his glove work was yards above the standard ‘wicky’.

    Keeping to Shane Warne in the early days was like no one had seen before. If someone said ‘Heals dropped a catch today’ you’d probably say they are lying. But on his own, he maintained his spot based on his glove work, leadership skills and love for the game.

    Brad Haddin brought amazing hands, energy, passion and determination to the game and was a perfect replacement for Gilly. Batting at 6-7, he took down opposition attacks for fun and did it with an air of confidence which was contagious.

    Selectors had it easy picking him. They knew what they were going to get. I would argue it’s not to same with our current crop.

    Wade, Nevill and Handscomb, what do I think? I don’t know if Wade is your man. In saying this he seems to be a bit of a culture man, which I like.

    We also would be ignorant to say that keeping in Bangladesh was easy. It would be the last place I would want to try and catch. Will the flatter wickets in Australia be a saving grace for Wade?

    I don’t think Nevill did a lot wrong to be punted in the first place and if he has a big one day season and even better first couple of Shield games I’d be worried for Wade. Like Wade, Nevill is a good culture builder and brings a lot of ups to the side. But in the modern day game thanks to the Gilly curse, he needs runs.

    Or do we go left field and throw Handscomb in there, who is reported as a tidy glove man and is scoring runs for Australia? Selectors have to decide what the focus is with Handscomb. I think he has a huge future and he should worry about scoring more 100s, particularly in the upcoming Ashes campaign.

    It might not be popular but I am keen for Nevill to return to the picture and to see the selectors emphasise the glove work component to the game.

    All wicketkeepers are now expected to catch everything and not make a mistake but also be the saving grace when the country needs you.

    Will Australia ever pick a wicket keeper who bats 11? Even if he had the best hands? I don’t think so.

    What’s more important to cricket selectors now? The Gilly blessing has now become a curse for Australian selectors who are trying to emulate a man who took the game by storm.

    How lucky we were to have him. I hope the next crop and the current can succeed half as good as him.

    The wicketkeeper has had a good game when no one talks about his wicketkeeping.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (29)

    • Roar Rookie

      September 22nd 2017 @ 8:31am
      Andrew Thomas said | September 22nd 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      Nail on the head, Clayton.

      I was quick to jump on wade for his keeping.

      Ahh the Gilchrist days. Let’s get Handscombe’s glove keen and get him behind the stumps.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 22nd 2017 @ 9:24am
        Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Big time Andrew. The good olde days right?

    • September 22nd 2017 @ 9:38am
      BrainsTrust said | September 22nd 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      The legacy of Gilchrist has been good for other countries India and South Africa.
      Gilchrist was a good keeper you would be happy just having someone with his keeping ability nowdays.
      Haddin wasn’t Gilchrist but he was still pretty good, Gilchrist affected how relatively unappreciated he was.
      Wade , his keeping isn’t good, and his batting isn;t either. He doesn’t really represent one sterotype or another.
      Handscombe is the worst part time keeper I have seen, I have seen people fill in when the wicket keeper and looked better than him.
      If you had a Wayne Phillips you would be going for him straight away, but he is a long way off Wayne Phillips.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 22nd 2017 @ 11:05am
        Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        You make some good points. I will disagree with Handscombe Keeping has he has performed at a Shield level, One Day and Big Bash with the gloves. Is he ready for the dual role of batting 4 and keeping, I wouldn’t want to see that burden on him yet.

    • September 22nd 2017 @ 9:52am
      AGordon said | September 22nd 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      Morning Clayton

      I think selectors, the media and maybe CA are after another Warne (how many spinners did we go through before we settled on Lyon who is only now a fixture), another Gilchrist or another Bradman (too many batsmen to count have had that tag applied). In years gone by, selectors were looking for another Lillee as well. We can look all we want but selectors must face reality when choosing a keeper; we need the best gloveman available and if they make runs, say an average in the 30’s, that’s a bonus. Right now we have 3 or 4 guys who fit that bill all of whom you’ve named. Of these, the least accomplished in my opinion is Wade, but he’s talkative and stirs up batsmen, so Boof loves him.

      The Shield games and maybe even the early Tests will determine who will keep. Wade obviously has the front running as the incumbent, but his form with the gloves and the bat has been patchy at best. I hope he improves dramatically bit can’t see it happening and if he’s selected as he’s playing now, could cost us a Test.

      By the way, if you said Healy was Australia’s best gloveman over the past 30 years, I’d completely agree, but guys like Don Tallon, Bert Oldfield and Wally Grout were way better than Healy and he;d probably be the first person to acknowledge that

      • Roar Rookie

        September 22nd 2017 @ 11:08am
        Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        Agree big time! We see every national team heading this way. Sangakarra, De Kock for example are and were batting in the top 3 for their country with more of an emphasis to score runs and then hopefully not have to comment on their wicket keeping. Gilly changed the focus of the role. I agree with your Wade comment and would like to see Neville back personality.

      • September 22nd 2017 @ 4:42pm
        Simoc said | September 22nd 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

        Of course A Gordon that is absolute nonsense and indicates that you haven’t played the game or understand wicketkeeping.
        Healey did miss catches and didn’t go for 50/50 dives. He rarely if ever featured in great catches. He just got on well with the chatterers and was tidy behind the stumps as were the others you speak of.And that is what was required; now plus runs The current leading light is the Englishman Bairstow. We’ll see him soon enough.

        The biggest requirement of the keeper is to catch everything. Spinners (that spin the ball) are difficult for all keepers and practice is the way around them. Many times byes are from crap balls.

        • September 22nd 2017 @ 10:11pm
          AGordon said | September 22nd 2017 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

          What is your claim to fame as a cricketer with a rubbish response like this is what, Simoc? Read my comment again, you clown, before commenting.

          Healy completed 395 Test dismissals – who has got close to that in the past 30 years in Australia? At no stage did I discuss his technique or whether he was a super star, I merely pointed out he’s been out best keeper in the past 30 years. Come on genius, who has a better record?

          I look forward to read and responding to more stupid comments from you in the future.

          • September 24th 2017 @ 9:48am
            Bakkies said | September 24th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            Gilchrist would have got closer had he not made his test début when he was 30 odd.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 26th 2017 @ 3:58am
              maverick said | September 26th 2017 @ 3:58am | ! Report

              Gilchrist actually made more dismissals than Healy and only behind to Mark Boucher.Gilchrist only played 96 tests though

      • September 22nd 2017 @ 5:28pm
        John Erichsen said | September 22nd 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

        You forgot our selectors Holy Grail Quest for a world beating test all-rounder.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:32pm
          James said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

          Damn Flintoff

    • Roar Guru

      September 22nd 2017 @ 12:11pm
      Chris Kettlewell said | September 22nd 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      I don’t think you can blame our current struggle for a consistent, solid keeper on Gilly. These guys just haven’t been up to it. Both Nevill and Wade were supposed to be decent with the bat, but both have averaged significantly less than Healy did, while not being up to that standard. Look around the country and there aren’t a lot of options currently. Whiteman is out for the season, Qld will have a rookie, Wade’s moved back to Tassie, where the previous options were Paine (who looked good for a while but was never the same after some injuries) and Jake Doran, a youngster with many supporters who’s still got a long way to go to see if he can take his underage skills and mix it with the big boys. Not sure who’ll be keeping for Vic this year. Maybe Handscomb will get the gig when available. But he will be away on international duties a lot of the time, so is that going to be another rookie? Alex Carey has been put forward by many, but he’s still pretty raw and only has a first class batting average in the 20’s.

      The cupboard is just a bit bare at the moment. It’s got nothing to do with the Gilly effect.

      • September 22nd 2017 @ 12:26pm
        AGordon said | September 22nd 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report


        I still think it’s about expectation and selectors, media, etc want a Gilly type keeper. Again, it’s great to WANT that type of player but I doubt we’ll see someone that good in the next 50 years.

        You’re 100% right, the keeping cupboard’s pretty bare at present, which shouldn’t stop selectors, etc from looking for a Gilly. What it means though is the selectors and Boof have to acknowledge and work with the limitations of which ever keeper they choose and not expect Gilly like performances. Wade is it for now, but is not a great choice. Maybe someone could talk Gilly out of retirement!

      • Roar Rookie

        September 22nd 2017 @ 12:38pm
        Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

        Chris, thanks for your feedback. Wasn’t aiming to blaming the great man! More of understanding the blessing he was to Australian Cricket. My main point is that selectors I believe are still looking at fitting the wicket keeper role with the Gilly like piece. Does this suit going forward? I agree we have to wait to see who comes through and that will ultimately determine the role they play.

      • September 22nd 2017 @ 1:41pm
        qwetzen said | September 22nd 2017 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        “I don’t think you can blame our current struggle for a consistent, solid keeper on Gilly. ”

        Well, Yes and No. ‘No’ it wasn’t his fault that the selectors picked him, but ‘Yes’ because with his success he changed the priority of selection throughout Oz cricket. Previously the best available keeper was selected but upon the emergence of The Gloved One the better batsman started to get The Nod. And this percolated all the way down to 5th grade cricket. In effect, Gilchrist poisoned the well. It’s not much of a stretch now to opine that the best keeper in the country is probably playing 2nd grade somewhere.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 22nd 2017 @ 3:02pm
          Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          I tend to agree and where I was aiming to take the article. I do believe there are some good up and comers in the system, they just need to perform. I see Jay Lenton (Thunder) keeper as a prospect and a few kids out of the U19s from NSW that I know of have a good firm base.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 6:03pm
          DavSA said | September 23rd 2017 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

          Spot on qwetzen . All around the world now its batting first , keeping second. If the player also develops into a decent keeper just a bonus .

    • September 22nd 2017 @ 4:12pm
      DLKN said | September 22nd 2017 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

      Look, I’m sorry to row against the popular tide here, but I don’t think Australia has had a test keeper of high quality since Healy.

      Both Gilchrist and Haddin were batsmen – Gilchrist an incendiary talent with the bat, Haddin more of a flat-track bully.

      But in my opinion, both were pretty average keepers, barely first-class standard. Haddin didn’t get the nicknames among other teams of “Byes” and “T!ts for hands” for no reason, and Gilchrist wasn’t much better.

      When their batting performances tailed off towards the end, it shone a stark light on just how poor their keeping was. Yes, both could pull off the occasional spectacular deed, but they were both untidy and prone to error.

      It beggars belief that Haddin is now coaching our fieldsmen – and Wade.He won’t improve with that regime.

      Australia really missed the boat post-Healy by not making Gilchrist a specialist batsman and picking blokes like Seccombe, Berry and Hartley instead.

      I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but I like my keepers to be good with the gloves.

      • September 22nd 2017 @ 5:23pm
        dan ced said | September 22nd 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

        I think you’re correct, but both were 5 times as good as Doormat Wade.

        Alex Carey should be the next keeper, has taken lots of screamers, rarely lets one slip.

        Shield record for most dismissals in a season, and a handy bat that’s still getting better with each innings.

        They need to get him in there quick, you say Healy didn’t go for 50/50 dives.. perhaps that’s something you can only maintain when age is on your side.

        • September 22nd 2017 @ 6:45pm
          Dicky M said | September 22nd 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

          Bad time for Whiteman to be injured , given Carey a free run at the job..Shame, quality keeper and bat averaging 36 in first class..

          • Roar Rookie

            September 22nd 2017 @ 8:48pm
            Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

            I can’t say I have seen a lot of him. Only 26 with a good average. Let’s see how he plays in the shield season.

      • Roar Rookie

        September 22nd 2017 @ 8:46pm
        Clayton Waters said | September 22nd 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

        Strong words and fair play to you for going against the grain. I agree about Healy but disagree about Gilchrist and Haddin. They both were solid and had amazing hands. Did there batting over shadow their glove work. I think so but to keep you Shane Warne, Brett Lee, McGrath and others full time, I think he was pretty handy.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:01am
          DLKN said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          Sorry, can’t agree. When I was a young keeper of very modest ability,my coaches, without exception, drummed into me that a good gloveman’s key skills were – great footwork first and second; then good hands, then reflexes. With all of the above came hard work, repetition, and concentration.

          Where Haddin, Gilly, Wade and Nevill all fall well behind Healy is in the area of footwork. They were / are all cumbersome and slow with their feet. This often leads to the need to dive for catches instead of taking them more upright, and results in a lot of missed balls down leg side and plenty of byes.

          I understand that Healy once went two years without conceding a test bye. I doubt that any of his successors went more than two innings.

          Keeping to Warne must have been hard, and Healy made it into an art form. That Gilly was a ‘serviceable’ keeper to Warne is why I rate him slightly above Haddin, who often looked clueless with a range of spinners. And this was a bloke who learned his keeping on slow wickets in Canberra and Sydney.

          Keeping to McGrath, Lee and Gillespie should be bread and butter to all keepers of any ability. Healy did it, so did Gilly. Thommo would have been a whole new set of challenges, and Marsh gets credit for that. But he was rubbish to spinners. Old Iron Gloves indeed.

          For these reasons, I don’t want Handscombe anywhere near the gloves – let’s maximise his batting gifts. I’ve seen him keep several times, and he’s worse than the worst of Haddin or Gilly. But he’s a batting gem – let’s not compromise that.

          Alex Carey is my pick of the current pure keepers. But obviously he’s going to need runs, given the current priority list of skills. And Nevill needs to find keeping form – he’s been very pedestrian at best behind the stumps for over a year now, despite some good batting numbers.

          • September 26th 2017 @ 10:15pm
            BriainsTrust said | September 26th 2017 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

            I wouldn;t say keeping to Lee was straight forward.
            When did Healy keep to Lee I don’t remember it.
            If the ball is knicked and deviates a fair way from the original path then a keeper has to dive to get it.
            Gilchrist did take some rippers and he had a longer reach than Healy.
            I thought both Gilchrist and Haddin better days as keeper was before their test careers.
            Wicketkeepers decline with age, we certainly saw that with Gilchrist and Haddin.
            Healy as well, his last year was pretty ordinary.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:36pm
          James said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

          Keeping to Mcgrath would be easy. Every ball landed at basically the same place.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:16am
        qwetzen said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

        Agree entirely. We should get a club going. Or at least tees produced.

        And of course the obvious thing to point out is that when Oz swapped the keepers’ criteria around the major beneficiaries were Gilchrist & Haddin. And when the criteria was switched back to the Traditional setting the beneficiary was Nevill. Can you spot the common factor?

    • September 22nd 2017 @ 10:13pm
      Connor Wright said | September 22nd 2017 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

      Healy was a heck of a wicketkeeper in his day, but I would have said Rod Marsh was Australia’s best ever. Imagine keeping for the likes of Thomson and Lillee! Healy lowered himself in my eyes when he gave up the game and became a commentator. Seemed like he never had a good word to say about Gilchrist. Anyway, at least we didn’t end up with Zoehrer!