I’ve had the privilege of watching Adam Gilchrist play live on a number of occasions, including the 133 he scored at the SCG when England finally won a game on the 2002/03 Ashes tour. It was much closer to home though that I first saw him play, and boy (note the Mark Nicholasesque superlative), could he play!

Young Australia was playing a Derbyshire side that included Devon Malcolm and Dominic Cork at Chesterfield in a three day game. Gilchrist was the standout player for the Junior Canaries, who also included MTG Elliot, Ricky Ponting, Stuey Law and Matthew Hayden amongst its ranks.

On a pacey track, Gilchrist blasted a rapid unbeaten 105. The way he dealt with Malcolm was incredible. Smacking him time and time again into the duck pond, endangering the lives and limbs of those wandering past. Malcolm kept bouncing him and Gilly kept hooking him off his nose for what seemed like miles.

It was a cracking game, Young Australia won by 4 wickets, although the result was irrelevant. I had seen a (young) master at work, and his retirement, while giving us an even better chance at winning back the Ashes next year, is a loss to cricket lovers around the world.

Gilchrist - annotations by SMH

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