Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman, Adam Gilchrist has come out and revealed the actual story behind his famous walk back to the pavilion in the 2003 World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka. After he edged the ball against Aravinda de Silva's off-spinner, which wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara caught, Gilchrist saw the fielders go up in the usual appeal but he also saw the umpire not give it out. Despite the match being played at the greatest of stages, Gilchrist decided to walk off to everyone's utter disbelief and ensured that the fair play eventually takes place.
15 years later, Gilchrist has revealed the actual reason behind the moment. In an interview recently given to Bob Murphy for a show on Fox Sports channel, Gilchrist told him about an incident that happened even before he played for Australia.
Gilchrist was on tour with the Australian Cricket Academy under the mentorship of Rod Marsh. His teammates included the likes of Justin Langer and Stuart MacGill and they were taking on state and territory second XIs around the country.
He said, “There was this wily old leg-spinner bowling to me and I went back and played this cut shot and smashed it straight into the keeper’s gloves and got given not out, I remember just disbelief that the umpire couldn’t give it out because it was such a big nick and they are all spewing. Mind you the leggie didn’t really react too much."
"I go on and get a hundred, and he comes in at the end of the day, and he’s like ‘well played mate', And I said ‘I’m so embarrassed, sorry about that out there.’ And he said ‘oh, don’t worry about it. It obviously means more to you at the moment than it does to me', That was like a dagger in the heart. At what cost do you do things? I didn’t at that moment, go ‘right I’m going to walk no matter what’, but I’ve never forgotten. I didn’t have it as a crusade or campaign to do, but I suppose that wedged somewhere in the back (of my mind).”
This and a few incidents like that during the 2002-03 Ashes at home, inspired Gilchrist to make a mental decision that he would walk off when he is out without any second thought. He exemplified this brilliant that day in South Africa.
He further said, "To see the umpire shaking his head, meaning, ‘Not out’, gave me the strangest feeling, I don’t recall what my exact thoughts were, but somewhere in the back of my mind, all that history from the Ashes series was swirling around."
“Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain and other batsmen, both in my team and against us, who had stood their ground in those ‘close’ catching incidents were definitely a factor in what happened in the following seconds. I had spent all summer wondering if it was possible to take ownership of these incidents and still be successful. I had wondered what I would do. I was about to find out. “The voice in my head was emphatic. Go. Walk. And I did.”
"Not that the voice is always so persistent. Don’t expect him to be as honest against a taped up Slazenger. I’m not even slightly interested in walking in backyard cricket,”
(Inputs from foxsports.com.au)