Adam Gilchrist set for Caribbean return after being confirmed as CPL’s latest International Franchise Player
Australia legend Adam Gilchrist will return to the Caribbean this year, the scene of one of his greatest cricketing triumphs, after being announced by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as the second international franchise player.
Gilchrist, arguably the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman in the history of the game, smashed 149 from only 104 balls in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Barbados in 2007.
It was an innings against a Sri Lanka side including spin-bowling great Muttiah Muralitharan that included 13 fours and eight sixes and was typical of the way he played, a blockbuster style full of flair and fantastic clean hitting that has made him a fan favourite and revolutionised the way wicketkeepers are viewed within the modern game.
Now Gilchrist will have the chance to cause more havoc on opposition bowling line-ups during the inaugural edition of the CPL, which is scheduled to take place from 29 July to 26 August in six franchise countries across the Caribbean.
"I’m very excited to be on board with CPL, and am looking forward to coming back and playing cricket in one of the most beautiful places on the planet,” says Gilchrist. “The CPL will feature some of the world's best cricketers and I can't wait to test my skills and play in what is going to be a dynamic and exciting competition.”
Gilchrist joins his former Australia team-mate and captain Ricky Ponting as the latest international high-profile star to link up with the CPL alongside six already-confirmed West Indies franchise players for the tournament: Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels.
He will find out which franchise he will be lining up for when the CPL draft takes place. That draft is planned to take place at the end of May and details will be announced in due course.
“I always have fond memories of my time playing cricket in the Caribbean and visiting all of the stunning locations and attractions that are on offer for the players and spectators alike,” Gilchrist reminisced. “Plus, I love playing the Twenty20 format and there is absolutely no better place anywhere to do this than the West Indies."
Gilchrist was part of the all-conquering Australia side that dominated cricket for more than a decade from the mid-1990s.
From his first Test in 1999 to his last in 2008 he never missed a match in the longest form of the game, scoring 5570 runs at an average of 47.60 with 17 hundreds, in the process becoming the first batsman to strike 100 sixes in Tests.
Gilchrist’s 287 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) brought him 9619 runs including 16 hundreds, all of them coming as an opening batsman, with 149 sixes and a strike rate of 96.94 runs per hundred balls.
He also played 13 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), including the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007, scoring 272 runs at a strike-rate of 141.66.
While those batting figures are superb, just as impressive are his statistics behind the stumps where Gilchrist’s 416 dismissals in Tests (379 catches and 37 stumpings) are a figure bettered only by Mark Boucher of South Africa.
In ODIs he stands on top of the world with 472 victims (417 catches and 55 stumpings) and in T20Is, he took 17 catches.
He was a pivotal member of the Australia squad that won three successive ICC Cricket World Cups, in 1999, 2003 and 2007, as well as the ICC Champions Trophy in 2006.
Gilchrist also captained Australia in six Tests, 17 ODIs and two T20Is and, leading the side in the absence of the injured Ricky Ponting for the first three matches of the 2004 tour of India, he spearheaded a first series win in India since 1969.
He toured the Caribbean three times as a player in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
The left-hander retired from international cricket in 2008 but since then has been playing in the Indian Premier League, first for the Deccan Chargers and then for the Kings XI Punjab. The 41 year-old is due to take part in this year’s IPL for the latter team ahead of his CPL commitment.
90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six Franchise teams will be comprised of 15 players. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from that particular country. At least four of them must be under the age of 23, and teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players.
More international players will be announced in the coming weeks, according to CPL organisers, as plans kick into high gear in preparation for the biggest sporting event in the Caribbean.