Adam Gilchrist making T20 comeback

The hearts of many cricket fans skipped a beat this morning when the WACA announced that Australian great Adam Gilchrist had signed with the Perth Scorchers ahead of the KFC T20 Big Bash League.
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South African bowler Alfonso Thomas will also feature at the Furnace for the upcoming season after agreeing to return.

But as quickly as hopes can be built up, they can also be crushed just as rapidly.

While Thomas will don the Scorchers’ orange and yellow outfit and take to the field, Gillie’s role will be entirely in the stands, as their number-one ticket holder.

For cricketing fans, the chance to see arguably the best ever wicket-keeper batsman walk out on the WACA Ground to do battle one last time would be priceless.

And you get the feeling that he wouldn’t mind having another crack on home soil himself.

The man who smashed an unbeaten 102 from 59 balls in a Test against England in Perth in 2006 is showing glimpses of regret at the timing of his retirement in 2008.

“It’s the one WA shirt I was never able to wear as a player, so I’m pleased to finally get one,” Gilchrist laughed at his Scorchers shirt presentation.

“I reflect on a couple of years ago, when I was asked to play for the Scorchers in the revamped KFC T20 Big Bash League, and a couple of other franchises actually.

“I decided I was finished with cricket in Australia, much to the disappointment of my children who were very keen for me to play for the Scorchers.

“Upon reflection I might as well have played because I was at every game anyway with them through their eagerness to be attending the games and supporting the Scorchers.

“It’ll never be lost on me the opportunity Perth and Western Australia provided me in forging ahead in my career. We’re well and truly entrenched over here, we love it after 19 years now. It’s very much our home city and home state and the Scorchers are my home team.”

We tend to forget that Gilchrist started his cricketing life as a New South Welshman. Who ever heard of an Australian cricketer leaving NSW to try to get in to the national side?

On top of that he also had the tough task of winning over a loyal WA cricketing audience, while ousting favourite son Tim Zoehrer from behind the stumps.

It wasn’t long before his names was being chanted around the WACA ground stands and he repaid the faith shown in him 10-fold with a terrific career, averaging 47.6 in 96 Test matches, including 17 centuries. He also belted 16 tonnes in One Day Internationals while wearing the bright yellow.

It’s clever media play by the WACA to announce Gillie’s involvement with the Scorchers on the same day as Thomas, as it guarantees the South African’s signing won’t go unnoticed.

And nor should it.

While he has played just one T20 game for his country, back in 2007 (he took three wickets against Pakistan) he was outstanding for the Scorchers last season.

He took 12 wickets for the tournament, the fourth best for the BB League. Hobart Hurricane’s Ben Laughlin topped that list with 14.

But he’s no Gillie.

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