Taking a wicket is way more important than hitting a century for Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist. And why not, since the former captain of the Australian national team is known for his wicket-keeping records. The batsman says one of the best things about his career has been the opportunity to be a part of three consecutive World Cups.
Adam was in Bengaluru for a two-day cricket tournament, battling it out with film stars. He took a breather from the game for a shopping trip to international sports brand Puma’s store on Brigade Road.
Adam, who has had a long partnership with Puma in the past, was hanging out with Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag at the store. While Adam was busy shopping and posing for pictures, he took out time to have a quick chat with me to talk about cricket (of course) and other things that occupy his time and attention off the field.
But cricket first.
Every time a great player retires, there is a void. With Dhoni now out of the circuit, the Indian team is feeling the pinch. This was one of the many questions on cricket that Adam fielded. He put a positive spin on the issue, saying, “It is a great opportunity for youngsters to fill in the void.”
Speaking about failures and victory, he says people learn from their mistakes and cricket players learn to accept both victory and loss. “At the end of the day, I believe what matters is that players aspire to be the best cricketers and the best human beings they can be. And aggression is part of the passion or emotions that flow out sometimes.”
Adam, later, spoke of his favourite moment in his career as a cricketer and said it was Australia’s victory in India in 2004. “Looking at the landscape and history, we know it is very tough getting a victory in a test match away from home,” he explains. “We weren’t able to do it in 35 years, but we were able to do it in 2004. We haven’t done it since. The collective effort of the group over a period of few years to get that result was very fulfilling and that shows how challenging it is to win here in India,” he says.
Adam believes passion is crucial to sports. “You have to enjoy the sport you have chosen. You have to enjoy it because you have chosen it, and not because you are being pushed into it nor because you think it is a good job to have.”
He insists that physical activity and sports is important for everyone. “It is important to have a healthy and balanced life whatever your occupation may be,” he says.
Being on the field and leading a team is all about having the right attitude, he feels. “I remember how Steve Waugh used to be an outstanding leader. He used to tell us about attitudes and how they are contagious. He would say that the question to ask is if your attitude is worth catching."
"When you are in a team, ask yourself – ‘What’s my attitude gonna be?’ If it’s positive, speak and if it is negative then don’t speak because it is going to bring others down. So a simple question you can ask yourself every morning when you get out of bed is what your attitude will be on that day.”
Adam says communication is key when it comes to leadership. “Any form of leadership is mostly about communicating to the people that you want to lead in a journey, in a direction they need to go. They need to understand what is it that you are asking them to do to get the end result that you are hoping to achieve. So communication is of paramount importance. Lack of communication can lead to downfall, something that can be easily controlled,” he says.
Speaking about topics off the field, Adam reveals he is a father to four boys and that keeps him busy. As a father, he feels the big challenge he faces is to get a smile from his children. “Getting them to smile at my jokes is a challenge. It never happens,” he laughs.
Other than daddy duties, Adam has been busy with TV and broadcasting. On the commercial front, a fair amount of his time is also spent in causes he supports.
“I am very fortunate to have a wide selection of areas that I am involved in. I am a patron of a charity in Perth for the past 17 years - this provides housing for families that come from regional areas to the city when their children are seriously ill and when they have to spend a long time in the hospital. It is very fulfilling to be involved in such things.”
I ask about regrets, and the man is quick to revert with a quick and firm “no”. And when I ask him to describe himself in a word, he says, “happy”. That just about sums up Adam Gilchrist.