Adam Gilchrist, the legendary Australia wicketkeeper, hardly gave anything away behind the stumps, but instantly knew it was time for retirement when he dropped VVS Laxman in what turned out to be his final Test for Australia.
Gilchrist, who finished with 905 international dismissals, the second-highest by a wicketkeeper after Mark Boucher, is said to have originally planned to extend his career for at least another year, but a dropped catch during India’s 2007/08 tour of Australia, off Laxman’s bat in the Adelaide Test, pushed the keeper into early retirement.
Recalling the incident while speaking on the Instagram show Live Connect, Gilchrist admitted that dropping Laxman in the Adelaide Test proved to be the catalyst for his exit, having come under the scanner for his relative sub-par showing in the months leading up to his sudden decision.
“I reckon it’s a good reason to retire if you drop the catch of VVS Laxman in a Test match,” Gilchrist said. “You don’t wanna give him too many chances!”
Incidentally, the wicketkeeper ended up pouching Laxman in both innings of the Test.
“He, along with most of the other Indian batting line-up in those days used to smash us and then Harbhajan [Singh] would come out and bowl us out. It was pretty easy to go out there and say ‘That’s me done for a while’.
Adam Gilchrist: Booed more than you would expect.https://t.co/ReLkeYv9B7
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 11, 2020
With a draw in the Adelaide Test, Australia clinched the series 2-1, which served as an ideal farewell for the wicketkeeper, who finished on 96 Tests. He played his final ODI in the limited-overs series against India that followed.
“As far as retiring at the right time,” Gilchrist said, “I always felt like I’d rather retire and people say why, as opposed to playing on and people say ‘why haven’t you retired’. I think it comes again from the foundations of your life from parents, your upbringing, The people that are around you that’s the way you play your game. Just try and be fair honest about it.”