Why Adam Gilchrist is, statistically speaking, the best bowler in Indian Premier League (IPL) history.
The name ‘Adam Gilchrist’ is an evocative one for cricket fans. For many, he’s the best wicketkeeper-batsman of all time, and the man who redefined the role in the modern game. For others, his greatest achievements are as a good bloke, for walking when others would stand their ground, and keeping his dignity in a team that made mental disintegration a key facet of their playing style.
Far fewer would pick out his work with ball in hand as marking him out, and yet it’s in this department that Gilly made his most remarkable contribution to cricket, at least in terms of pure numbers. Statistically speaking, Adam Gilchrist is the best bowler in IPL history, and to be honest, it’s not even close.
In fact, his stats couldn’t be improved. His bowling average and economy are both 0.00. His dot ball percentage is 100 per cent, and his strike-rate is 1.00. Extrapolating, if he bowled from both ends, he would have the opposition 0-10 in 10 balls. It’s a good thing for the competitiveness of the game that that isn’t allowed.
If you’re wondering how this is possible, it’s quite simple. Gilchrist bowled exactly one ball in his IPL career, claiming a wicket and sealing victory in one fell swoop. The moment came in the last game of professional cricket he played, for Kings XI Punjab against Mumbai Indians, the tournament’s eventual champions.
With his side’s exit from the competition at the group stage confirmed but well ahead in the game, the stage was set for Gilchrist to have some fun. Introduced to bowl the 20th over with Mumbai Indians one wicket from defeat, Gilchrist warmed up to vociferous chants of ‘Gilly, Gilly’. However, that was nothing compared to the cacophony unleashed after the ball was bowled, with Harbhajan Singh playing his part to perfection, picking out deep midwicket to give Gilchrist the end to his career he deserved.
The Australian celebrated like he’d just won a fourth World Cup title, with a couple of barrel rolls followed by a half-Gangnam jig, before finishing with an Alan Shearer one-arm-in-the-air run.
The tragedy is, having revealed himself as the most devastating, parsimonious bowler that T20 cricket has known, that there was no more to come after. Gilchrist’s bowling record remains unspoiled. One ball bowled, one wicket taken, no runs conceded. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke.
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