The Australian cricket team has been the most professional team in cricket. But in a shocking decision taken by the Australian selectors, Michael Clarke was chosen to lead Australia against New Zealand in the upcoming 20-20 match to be held at Perth.
Gilchrist arguably the most destructive batsman in the world, has been a consistent performer in the shortest version of the game too. In eleven innings Gilchrist has scored 246 runs at a healthy average of 25, whereas in the same number of matches Clarke has managed just 77 runs. Interestingly, Gilchrist has hit a total of 37 hits to the fence including fours and sixes whereas Clarke has managed just 6. In the ODI format Gilchrist has got 15 hundreds whereas Clarke has got a mere three.
Thus performance wise Gilchrist scores over Clarke. The only thing that could have deterred the selectors from naming Gilchrist as the Skipper could be his age. Gilchrist is 36 years old whereas Clarke is 10 years younger and could be the captain of the future. But then Ponting was just missing this one match and the Australians needed a stop gap captain for it, then why choose Clarke when Ponting is going to be back for the next one. The idea of grooming Clarke to be the next captain could be an answer. But he could have been groomed even if he were made the vice captain.
Gilchrist has been one of the most consistent performers for Australia whether behind the stumps or in front of them. He is at the twilight of his career and would be retiring in a couple of years time. The selectors in India were confronted with the same problem when they had to decide between Kumble and Dhoni as the test captain. Well, they picked the former. Not just for his sheer experience which counts in a five day game but for his long dedication to the team. The aussie selectors seem to have gone the other way, choosing youth over experience.
Gilchrist would have certainly dreamt of leading the Australian side but with icons like Steve Waugh, Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting in the side, he stood no chance. Now would have been the best time to reward a player who has performed consistently for his side over a really long period of time. But a few decisions taken by the selectors, even in Australia are beyond the level of understanding. The selection of Clarke as skipper would have left Gilchrist fuming. It’s to be seen whether it would turn out to be a masterstroke or a disastrous decision.