Says giving opportunity to youngsters was compelling
By Shirin Sadikot
Mumbai 30 April 2013
It takes immense sense of security and selflessness as the leader of a group to accept shortcomings and be harsh on yourself for the greater good of the team. In IPL, many captains have shown that readiness to drop themselves from the team in order to maintain the balance of the side.
It was ironical that two of Australia’s greatest batsmen – Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting– treaded that path in the same game, on Monday evening. While Ponting has been sitting out to get an in-from opening pair in place, Gilchrist made the decision in order to give opportunity to the younger overseas players.
The ploy almost worked for Kings XI Punjab as they came within four excruciating runs to chasing down Mumbai Indians’ 174. After the thriller in Mumbai, iplt20.com spoke to Gilchrist in an attempt to understand his mindset as the team’s leader.
Not the result you aimed for but you must be proud of the fight the team showed chasing that total?
Yes, they almost chased it down but not quite. It was a nice fighting effort when it looked like the match was going out of hand. There’s a bit of positive to take from the game.
When did you decide that you will sit out this game and how long have you been contemplating it?
Since the last few games we’ve had to think about it as a selection group. We had to look at the right balance and find the right players who were playing well and could contribute most to the team. It was obvious that I haven’t contributed with the runs but there are other things that I bring to the table as well. We were just trying to work out whether that outweighed the option of giving the opportunity to someone else. Shaun Marsh was fit and we had Luke Pomersbach on the sidelines as well. In the end I thought it was more compelling to give them the opportunity rather than me playing with the results I’d been getting.
Some of the shots you played against SRH and KKR gave an impression that a big knock was around the corner. Did feel the same?
Those two innings were okay but in eight games if you haven’t made a significant contribution you’re a bit of a passenger. We’ve said all along that we want to pick our team based on performance and not reputation. I’ll keep practising and if the opportunity arises, I’ll come in and nail that big one.
At times even when the runs aren’t coming in the match, you know that you are in good nick. How are you feeling about your form at the moment?
Form is a rubbish word. It’s more accurate to say that you’re not getting results. You’re spot on – there are times when you feel good about your game but fail to score runs. I’ve had more batting practice for this IPL than any other previous season. I have hit a lot of balls in the nets and have felt very comfortable. But that hasn’t translated to results in games. You can go into every fine detail of my dismissals saying I was unlucky there or the bowler was fortunate. But at the end of the day I haven’t contributed and that’s no problem when you’ve got batting talent like Shaun Marsh, Pomersbach, David Hussey and David Miller. It’s not a tough decision. It’s unfortunate and I’d love to do well but that’s not the case.
How tough is it to prepare your body and mind for two months of cricket in a year?
I haven’t found it that tough up to this point. This is the first time that I’ve had a run of low scores like this. Who knows if that’s another year older and another year out of it. You definitely realise that you’re a little bit behind the pace year after year as compared to the guys who are playing cricket full time. Whether it’s up to the point that you can’t contribute is what you have to make up your mind eventually on.
Did the thought of giving up wicket-keeping gloves and just playing as a batsman ever cross your mind?
No, never. I’ve played years and years of cricket now. So for me it’s not a case of having to focus on batting because keeping is taking up time and energy. It’s part of my nature now and part of who I am. It’s like riding a bike. Once you know it, you don’t need to focus on the skills required and think of the work load impeding on the batting. If anything, I have contributed more with the gloves than with the bat this year and so I am lucky to have my keeping gloves on.
You’ve been a leader and a mentor in IPL. In which role have you evolved more?
That’s an interesting question. I’ve never sat back and thought about how I have evolved in a single role. Right from the first IPL I’ve tried to bring in all my all-round cricketing experience into the two sides I’ve been part of (Deccan Chargers and KXIP). I’ve tried to use my batting, keeping, captaincy and leadership skills to create an environment in the team. It’s all part of the package.
A word on David Miller? What impresses the most about him?
Just his personality. He’s one of the most lovely young blokes you’ll come across. His appetite for learning and his work ethic to complement his clean striking are all excellent. He’s been in the IPL since three years and has done a lot of watching for the first two years. Now that he’s got his chance you can see how well he has developed. He’s growing at the international scene as well for South Africa. Do you know how all were looking forward to seeing an Adam Gilchrist vs Ricky Ponting contest? And none of you played!
We both got splinters sitting on our backside on the wooden bench (laughs). I do look forward to the contest when MI come to Mohali but not in any way other than getting two points over his team. I look forward to seeing him and having a drink with him tonight. It was funny, we were chatting to each other before the game about sitting on the bench and that’s the way it is. There are worse things you could be doing in life.
Given KXIP’s resources, what is your take on the team’s standing half way into the tournament?
Talking about the resources of the teams, you’ve only got to look at the salaries paid out by teams to figure out which is a white collar team and which is a blue collar one. We’re a blue collar team and that’s not for a moment questioning our owners. That’s the kind of franchise we are. MI have paid over 12 million dollars to their players; they have a bloke they’re paying a million dollars who doesn’t even look like getting a game (Glenn Maxwell). When you have more money to dispose it’s going to allow you better selection. That doesn’t mean our franchise is of lesser value as people. We are a team of grinders; we fight really hard and we don’t have any ego around the team. It’s a lovely atmosphere to play in.