Specialising in mayhem

HE'S both an entertainer and a match-winner. Adam Gilchrist is born to win.

Among the most influential cricketers of our times, the West Australian imposes himself on the bowlers, beating them back mentally.

Along the way, the bowlers forget their game-plan and begin bowling to his strengths. That is Gilchrist's strategy really.

At the Chinnaswamy Stadium, we saw all of this punishing left-hander's trademark strokes — the scorching cuts, the rasping pulls, the thundering straight hits and the back-foot punches on the off-side.

The fact that Gilchrist dominated the opening partnership of 119 with as punishing a batsman as Hayden tells its own story. No wonder, Ranjan Madugalle did not see beyond Gilchrist for the Man of the Match award.

The left-hander may have actually begun in a streaky fashion, edging Nehra just out of the reach of the second slip, but did not take long to assert himself, cracking Nehra to the point boundary and pulling Zaheer to the fence.

The fact that he often picks the ball from the off-stump and dismisses it over mid-wicket indicates he is more of a length batsman, and the feature of his batting is the quickness with which he judges where the delivery is going to land.

When this left-hander goes on the rampage, he takes the game away from the opposition so easily; his methods put the opponents in a state of much disarray and confusion.

The hundred in Bangalore was Gilchrist's ninth in limited overs internationals and his 111 consumed just 104 balls (14x4, 1x6).

While Gilchrist's achievements in Test cricket are out of the ordinary, he has a remarkable track record in the ODIs as well.

In 176 games (including the Bangalore match of the TVS tri-series), he has 5775 runs at 35.21, sprinkled with nine hundreds.

What make his batting feats remarkable is his astonishing strike rate of 92.50, which suggests that he more often than not blows away the opponents.

Add his batting feats to his fine record with the big gloves — 256 catches and 37 stumpings in the ODIs — and you have a cricketer who is priceless in his value to any side. Adam Gilchrist is in a league of his own.