A cricketing great

25 Jan 2013

Author: Adam Gilchrist

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Cricketing great Adam Gilchrist talks about spending time in India
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I’ll never forget my first visit to India. It was 1996 and the Australian team has called me up overnight to play in my first One-Day international game. My flight landed at midnight and I was playing for Australia by 9am.

It all happened so quickly and I was trying to digest everything you typically see in India – the activity on the street, in the airport, and in the hotels, which is magnified by about a thousand times when it is in and around the Australian cricket team. It was quite an assault on the senses, but I liked it from the outset and was soon captivated by this fascinating country.

Australian cricketers enjoy a high profile in India and on tour we were always made to feel very welcome. The hospitality is lavish and generous, making India a wonderful place to go to as an international cricketer.

These days, as the captain of Indian Premier League team Kings XI Punjab I spend close to three months a year in India. This year I’ll also be playing in the IPL for one last season before retiring from cricket!

There’s a lot of beauty in India. My last two visits have taken me to Dharamshala in the foothills of the Himalayas. An unforgettable experience was playing cricket with the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains in the background. We even had the Dalai Lama drop by to watch the game from his residence up the road.

The mutual passion that Australians and Indians have for cricket is a wonderful link and a great way to forge closer bilateral relations. Of course, India and Australia have much in common, not only in sport, but also in business and education. The appetite for education in India, especially in tertiary studies, has seen huge growth in the past 15 years and there are some wonderful developmental opportunities between the two countries. 

This is something I’ve seen firsthand in my role as the brand ambassador to India for the University of Wollongong (UOW), which has seen me take many trips to India as the university builds relationships with Indian corporations and potential students.

We’ve also forged a partnership with the Bradman Foundation to set up a sports/study scholarship program. Each year we look forward to welcoming an Indian student to study at the UOW and gain access to the foundation’s fantastic cricket training facilities.


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