T20 World Cup: Adam Gilchrist didn’t think he would make it as a commentator

Adam Gilchrist

With T20 World Cup final looming, Gilchrist on the moments when he was drawn back to the game

One of the joys of watching the 2022 T20 World Cup has been the assembled team of commentators working on the world feed that is being used by Fox Sports, Kayo and Nine in Australia.

Key to that team is Fox Sports and Kayo presenter and commentator Adam Gilchrist.

As he contemplated what life post-cricket might have looked like for Adam Gilchrist, the wicketkeeper-batsman didn’t think media would be his destination, he told Mediaweek recently.

“I was fortunate to make a number of commercial relationships during my playing days whether it be a product endorsement or something else. I always tried to learn more about the business and the people involved than just the product. I took an interest in the marketing side of the business and what they were trying to achieve.

“When I did retire about five or six of my commercial partnerships continued on afterwards. That gave me a nice landing [financially] after jumping out of the game.

Steve Crawley, then working at Channel Nine at the time as head of sport, gave me the opportunity to do some commentary work. I subsequently worked on a Test Match in Perth and then the game that was David Warner’s first T20 at the MCG.

“I came away from that experience thinking, ‘That’s not for me.’” 

T20 World Cup commentary team

Adam Gilchrist, Athar Ali Khan, Bazid Khan, Brian Murgatroyd, Carlos Brathwaite, Dale Steyn, Danny Morrison, Dirk Nannes, Eoin Morgan, Harsha Bhogle, Ian Bishop, Ian Smith, Isa Guha, Mark Howard, Mel Jones, Michael Atherton, Michael Clarke, Nasser Hussain, Natalie Germanos, Niall O’Brien, Pommie Mbangwa, Preston Mommsen, Ravi Shastri, Russell Arnold, Samuel Badree, Shane Watson, Shaun Pollock, Simon Doull, Sunil Gavaskar

Gilchrist said he felt like he didn’t add much with his commentary, and he was quite nervous trying to fit in with what was an iconic Nine broadcast team that included Richie Benaud, Tony Greig and Bill Lawry.

“I also felt I could have stepped away from cricket for a little while. But what Steve Crawley did allow me to do was to learn about broadcasting alongside Ken Sutcliffe on the Sports Sunday program. Doing some presenting caught my attention, but I hit pause on it as I didn’t want to have to continually travel from Perth into Sydney.”

Adam Gilchrist. Top photo: Pat Cummins, Adam Gilchrist and Ellyse Perry at the SCG for the Kayo Sports – Summer of Cricket launch. Photo by Phil Hillyard

Five years then went by before the rights to the Big Bash League were secured by Network 10. “I had a call from [10 head of sport] David Barham, inviting me to join the Big Bash League commentary team,” recalled Gilchrist.

“I still felt I wasn’t great at cricket commentary and I asked him who the rest of the team was. When he said Ricky Ponting, Damien Fleming and Mark Waugh I realised it meant working with good mates and I wanted to go and hang out with them.

“That journey was fantastic for five years. When the TV rights changed hands I was fortunate that Steve Crawley came to me and asked me to be part of the new Fox Cricket team. I had never forgotten his words after my initial Test and T20 commentary experience. He said, ‘I reckon we will work together again one day’.”

After nearly three decades living in Perth, Gilchrist said he doesn’t have any issues with travel across Australia. During Covid, there were a number of challenges when he had to spend weeks on end away from the family, but he is looking forward to travel flexibility returning for the summer ahead.

With the T20 World Cup almost completed, Gilchrist is now contemplating the remainder of what Fox Cricket has branded the “longest summer ever”.

“I have committed to all the Tests which is easy for me because of my love for Test Cricket. It remains the absolute pinnacle as far as challenge goes for a cricketer. I will also be doing most of the white ball international ODIs and T20s.

“With the Big Bash, I come in whenever I can. Looking at the schedule I am very much on air for the back half of that season and the finals.”

Adam Gilchrist: Tests v Big Bash

Gilchrist noted the difference between working on a five-day game versus a three-hour T20 clash. Commentators can be a little more laid back on the short form, while Test Matches are more nuanced with slower periods. “The advice ‘let it breathe’ is never more powerful than in a Test Match where you can just hold off from saying anything at different times.

The beauty of working on a T20 Big Bash League match is that it is just you and two others for the whole game. You really ride the journey for that whole game which can flip so suddenly. On a Test Match, you are shuffled around on and off air.”

Gilchrist said he is well looked after at Fox Cricket by a great production crew. “We also have one of the great statisticians in Lawrie Colliver who is brilliant.”

When asked about his ability to retain cricket stats, Gilchrist explained: “I am OK remembering things from my playing days. Otherwise, there are a couple of areas I could do better. [Laughs] But we are well supported. Being on a dedicated cricket channel really allows us to sink our teeth into the production side of the business and make it a fulfilling experience for the viewers.”

See also: Kayo Sports launches its biggest cricket season ever: up to 1600 hours!

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