/ 30 April 2007

Squash ball does the trick for Gilchrist

Record-breaking run scorer Adam Gilchrist has revealed the secret of his batting success at the World Cup final — a squash ball inside his batting glove.

The Australian left hander scored 149, the highest score ever in a World Cup final on Saturday, an innings that put the game beyond opponent Sri Lanka.

Gilchrist had only enjoyed moderate form by his standards throughout the tournament, scoring 304 runs in 10 innings.

On Saturday though, returning to his best form, he began waving to someone in the crowd after scoring his century in only 72 balls, the fastest in a World Cup final. He went on to hit 13 fours and six sixes on his way to 149 and Australia, who scored 281-4, won the match by 53 runs in a rain-affected final.

In fact Gilchrist was waving, via the television cameras, to batting coach Bob Meuleman back in Perth, Australia. Meuleman had given him the idea of using a squash ball inside the glove of his bottom hand to improve his grip.

”I decided in this World Cup that I would use it in a match,” Gilchrist said.

”His last words to me before I left the indoor training centre in Perth were, ‘Well, if you are going to use it, make sure when you score a hundred in the World Cup final you show me and prove to me that you have got it in there’. So I had to stay true to that.” — Sapa-AP