As an ace cricketer who not just captained the Australian cricket team but is also regarded as an all-time great as far as being a wicket keeper batsman, Adam Gilchrist is like no other.
In the world of cricket, Adam Gilchrist is the one name that has an instant recall. Well after all here is a player who has literally been there and done that. The 46 year old attacking batsman he has rightfully earned a spot in ICC Hall of Fame. For someone who believes that good quality players will be able to perform in all formats across the game whether it is a test match or a 20-20, he continues his association with the sport as a commentator. In this tête-à-tête, he shares some interesting thoughts on India’s upcoming Australia series as well as how he continues to remain as fit as before. Excerpts.
What brings you to India?
I am happy to be in Bengaluru as part of the Karnataka Chalanchitra Cup (KCC), the brainchild of actor Sudeep and for me it is always exciting to come back to India one more time. Also, playing cricket with actors and directors in the film industry while and catching up with old friends like Viru (Virender Sehwag) Lance Klusener and Herschelle Gibbs has been good fun.
What do you think of the young players in Indian cricket?
There are a number of exciting cricketers in India and we see a number of them come through the IPL season and get thrust in the spotlight. It is certainly an exciting time for Indian cricket and the cricketers too. The challenge is however to perform consistently at that level that involves a lot of hard work and commitment to training.
How do you stay so remarkably fit?
I don’t follow any strict guidelines or programs but what I do is try to do something every day and if I miss a day I try to make up the next day. Also it does not need to be long, just 30 minutes every day is good enough to keep you fit. I think you can do it easily – at least just walk. I find it frustrating when people say they cannot find the time to exercise. I think a little bit of discipline will help you get active. It is all relative to your level of fitness but you can keep improving and after all a healthy body is a healthy mind. I don’t mind running now which I had stopped to protect my knees when I was playing and when I am travelling it is just the easiest way to exercise. I also do some boxing and cross fit in circuits and lately I have been doing a lot of rowing on the equipment which is a thorough workout. It incorporates everything and I challenge anyone to do a ten minute workout on the rowing equipment at a higher rate to get a complete workout.
When experienced players retire, there is a void that seems hard to fill. How do you believe teams can manage these kinds of situations?
It is a challenging situation for any team. When Shane Warne finished it was hard, these are big gaps to fill and it is not simple. But the positives as there are opportunities for young players to raise their gaming skills. It may take some chopping and changing, but selectors need to have consistency in selection to give players a chance to settle. If you churn through players too quickly, it can leave a psychological scar on their minds and that may limit their efforts in producing their best. And there is a great chance in the upcoming Australian series coming up. It’s a joy batting in Australia and the conditions are certainly conducive to have a great test series.
Tell us about your diet.
Most fit bodies start in the kitchen and what you eat and I am very fortunate that my wife is a dietician. And while we love food as much as anyone, balanced diet really is the key and covers all the key food groups. I do not really follow a strict diet but do try and limit the amount of fatty food intake. But I believe it is still important to enjoy life and you must indulge – never indulge. If you are relatively active you can pretty much eat what you want. Just remember that moderation is key.
How do you think the present India team will play overseas?
It is challenging to play overseas and each country has its own set of conditions that you need to handle. I think most teams do well in their own country and not as much travelling overseas. But it does not bother me too much as I feel there is a nice carrot dangling there that players can aspire to get and up their game to that level. The key is learning from failures and changing the mindset to improve the next time. I do believe India have a strong bowling unit and some quality batsmen, including the best batsman in the world, Virat Kohli. They have the potential to win overseas and it is just the mind more than the body.
What do you think of aggression on the cricket field?
I think every home grown fan wants their nation to win but everyone agrees that winning in a sporting manner is acceptable. There have been mistakes in the past that have been accepted and we need to move on from that. I really believe that the focus will be on being the best cricketers and best people they can be. Of course there will be moments of aggression but its fine as everyone wants that passion. There is a fine line between emotion and passion and it is up to the match officials to monitor – allow the emotions to flow but if it gets too much allow things to cool off.
What is your advice to young crickets who aspire to make it big?
I would say the one thing is that you must enjoy what you are doing whether it is playing or training. In fact as cricketers we train more than we play so you must find a way to make that enjoyable. Commitment to hard work is very important.
How do you unwind?
These days it is just relaxing with my kids and family and being with them and around them. They are involved in so many activities too. My son is an actor so I enjoy seeing his performances and my daughter loves running, so just being with them and my wife makes me very happy.