As part of my preparation for the 2009 Ashes series, I have just read Adam Gilchrist’s auto biography – “True Colours – My Story”. And I have to say it is not bad. I’m not going to review it here but a couple of things made me think, and I will relate those to you.
In the foreword, Gilly shares that one of his friends asked if he was going to show his true colours in the book. Remember that AC Gilchrist is not just the best keeper/batsman to ever play but he is a philosopher and author. What I’m saying is that Gilly took this question seriously and gave it quite some consideration. He makes some interesting observations about who really knows his true colours. Gilly makes the point that he is a very public figure and lot’s of people “know” him, or think that they know him, but it is only his close friend and family that really know his true colours. So that’s how the book’s title was struck.
As with most books, I went straight to the photographs section. I know it is childish but please forgive me – I am making progress. Up until a few years ago, all I looked at in a book was the pictures. At any rate, I tell myself that familiarising myself with images of the subjects of the book is a sensible thing to. Back to Gilly – There are several photos of the 2005 Ashes series and the captions leave you in no doubt that the series was the low point of Gilly’s career. One photo, of Gilly grassing a catch, refers to the worst day in Gilly’s life. I instantly knew what it was and recalled the details.
When you eventually get to the 2005 series in the book, Gilly expands, in great detail, of how bad that series was for him. I remember his worst moment. At the time, dongles wrote an article titled, “A calculator for Mr Gilchrist, please” (the calculator was for Gilly to work out how many runs his dropped catches had cost – about 170, from memory). Reflecting on that, I feel badly. Most of you would be aware that Gilly has long been my hero. We Aussie’s were distraught about losing the Ashes. But not as distraught as Gilly and his team mates. They were trying their hardest, after all. I’m sorry Adam – I was way harsh.
Another topic around the 2005 Ashes that Gilchrist delves into is cultural. I think that we have all heard about the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) on that tour. Gilly does not spend much time on that but did confirm that there were some clashes. What Gilly did expand on was where most of the players were in their lives. You will remember that the 2005 Australian team was mostly of veteran status – most of them had wives, children and other interests. Five years earlier they had lived and breathed cricket – the Australian cricket team was their family. Come 2005, interests were divided. As already established, WAGS were allowed on tour. In fact, Gilchrist and Hayden has booked apartments for their families so that they could follow them around on tour (Cricket Australia did not allow them to stay in the team hotel).
While Gilchrist did not speak for Hayden, he was quite clear that his own interests were very divided. He was torn between family and cricket and this certainly affected his focus. I think his actual words were, “I was trying to be all things to everyone and succeeded in being nothing to anyone.” Gilly was also quite clear that the team did not have the same unity and bond and that affected the strength and spirit. In fact, in the 2005 England team, he saw the very same single-minded characteristics of the Australian team for a few years earlier. See, I told you Gilly is a philosopher.
What any of that has to do with the 2009 series, I have no idea. I’m just trying to get our minds off the tennis and footy and onto the main event. Oh, did someone say Hewitt has reached the quarters? Well, perhaps one eye on the tennis would be OK.