New Delhi: One of the most intimidating batsmen in his heydays, former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist says he himself feared only Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan and Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh during his international career.
The former stumper-batsman, who served as Australia's stand-in captain on quite a few occasions, disclosed this at an interactive session with school kids in New Delhi on Thursday.
Asked about the bowlers he feared the most, the swashbuckling left-hander said, "It would be a combination of Murali and Bhajji. I could never read the delivery from Murali's finger movements. He always made me feel like a 10-year-old."
"Whenever I was in doubt, I promptly swept," quipped Gilchrist. "There was this Test innings where I had gone out with this mindset to sweep. First ball, I swept and the ball went for four. Second ball, I swept again. This time, it went straight up in the sky and I was caught. Next match, again I swept Murali the first ball and was caught plumb in front of the stumps," he added.
Gilchrist shared a story of his former teammate Mike Hussey, who, according to him, was equally uncomfortable facing Murali.
"We were always a bad influence for each other in the dressing room. If Mike had to go out and face Murali, I would pull his leg and make him nervous. He would get back to me when my chance came," Gilchrist went down memory lane.
"On one such occasion, Mike went out to bat. The first ball, he tried to play a defensive shot, the ball zipped past him. The second ball, Mike was apprehensive again. This time, the ball missed the stumps by an even shorter gap. He was completely clueless but somehow survived till lunch."
At lunch, Gilchrist said he spotted Muralitharan having a chat with the Australian team physio Alex Kontouris who had worked with the Sri Lankan cricketers as well.
"As I was going past the duo, I heard Murali tell Alex that he had no clue where to bowl against Mike," disclosed Gilchrist to a roar of laughter.
Asked how he kept himself fit after retirement, the left-hander said, "I never followed a diet chart even during my playing days. Rather, I followed a seafood diet. That is, whenever I saw seafood, I ate it."
Answering another query on how to come out of a bad patch, Gilchrist's reply was, "I have never had a bad patch" before quickly adding that this was said in lighter vein and he did not want to sound 'rude'.
Asked why fast bowlers are not given the leadership of teams that often, Gilchrist shared an incident involving another former teammate Brett Lee.
"Brett used to wear two pairs of socks while bowling. Once, before the start of a match, I saw Brett desperately looking for something. When I asked, he said he couldn't find one sock of the second pair. So, he wore all three socks on the right leg and went out to bowl. To be honest, I never really thought fast bowlers to be the smartest of the lot," said the 44-year-old.