Gilchrist still to come to grips with year~~s best tag

Published: Friday, July 12, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Perth: Australian Test vice-captain Adam Gilchrist was still trying to come to grips on Friday with being recognised by his international peers as the cricketer-of-the- year.

The New South Wales-born, Western Australia-based wicket-keeper-batsman rated it as his number one achievement in the game after beating off the best cricketers in the world, including master Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, for the award. Gilchrist, 30, received the annual award from the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) in London this week. "You hear the names of the great legends of the game like the Sachin Tendulkars and Steve Waughs - and you never classify yourself with those players," he said on his return to Perth, where he now lives with his family. Gilchrist was rated ahead of a host of other super stars, including Australia's Matthew Hayden, Sri Lankan pair Muthiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene and South African Jacques Kallis. The award was judged on Test performances over the past 12 months. Gilchrist scored 1,166 runs in 14 Tests at an average of 77.73 during that time, including four centuries and a swashbuckling 204 not out against South Africa off just 213 balls at Johannesburg in April. Gilchrist said he would not be putting any extra pressure on himself despite his elevated stature. "The only area of pressure is from within myself and I won't get carried away," he said. "It is decided on a ranking system and this is for the 12 months," he said. "Obviously, at this time next year, if I haven't played well - people won't be sitting around talking about me. "There is incentive to go out there and do well, but I won't put myself under any extra pressure." Past winners of the FICA award include Australian Test captain Steve Waugh, Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath, West Indian batsman Brian Lara and Zimbabwean wicket-keeper-batsman Andy Flower. Gilchrist has a phenomenal Test average of 60 from 31 matches, with 122 catches and 10 stumpings with the gloves. Gilchrist has ridden a magic carpet to the top of his sport since he moved from New South Wales in the mid-1990s to Perth - with only his pet dog Roy and a small case for company - to seek better fortune after failing to gain a place in his home state side.

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