Test victory in India my career highlight: Gilly

Published: Monday, January 28, 2008, 16:57 [IST]
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Test win in India Gilly's career highlight

>Adelaide: Retiring wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist said on Monday that leading Australia to a historic 2-1 away series win over India in 2004 was the highlight of a glittering career.

Gilchrist bowed out of the game as one of the all-time greats after the fourth Test against India here, having played 96 Tests, averaged 47.60 with the bat and holding the world record for dismissals (414).

He enjoyed many personal and team highs along the way, but said winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as captain in India was right at the top.

Gilchrist was thrust into the role when Ricky Ponting was injured during a match in England before the India tour. He went on to lead Australia in the first three of the four Tests, winning the first two and then drawing the third to claim the series.

It was Australia's first series win in India since 1969 and followed a devastating near miss in the memorable 2001 series.

"I just remember from the moment Ricky Ponting got hit on the thumb at Edgbaston in the Champions Trophy," he said.

"The moment that happened I realised in all likelihood I'd be taking the reins to captain that tour, which had such an amazing build up.

"From that moment on I started to get nervous and had a few self doubts and considered not taking it on.

"To captain that team for the bulk of the series and be part of the leadership group that constructed that group was the highest point and greatest achievement of my career personally."

Gilchrist also said his spectacular 149 in last year's World Cup final against Sri Lanka stood out, and not just for the quality of his cricket.

"To have played that knock in the World Cup final, on the biggest stage possible at the right time... it's very rare everything goes to plan all at once. That was really pleasing."

He described last year's World Cup in the West Indies as "one of the most difficult parts of my career" as he had to fly out just five days after his wife Mel had given birth to their third child.

He added: "We all know how long that tournament was. I found it some very lonely, difficult times to get through. To pick myself was up was very special."

Gilchrist said he was happy to bow out of cricket remembered more for his explosive batting than his work behind the stumps, despite holding the world record for dismissals by a wicketkeeper.

"I've always felt like I had to defend my wicketkeeping a little bit and maybe that's because I wasn't technically perfect," he said.

"I feel I was effective, I did what I had to do and hopefully value added in that department because that's what I set out to do.

"My batting's been just great fun but I have no drama how people classify me, I'm just thrilled and overwhelmed by the amount of people saying thank you for the entertainment."

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