Adam Gilchrist is best known for his explosive on-field batting and world record feats behind the stumps to the likes of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, but his post-playing life has taken on a profound new meaning.
With his playing days over, getting more Australians, particularly those from Sub-continent communities, playing cricket has his attention.
Gilchrist maintains a deep love of the Sub-continent having toured their many times with Australia and played six years in the Indian Premier League with Kings XI Punjap.
Cricket is about more than simply participation, he says. It leads to a deeper connection with Australian society.
“Cricket is Australia’s national sport,” Gilchrist said. “It is a sport that is a part of the fabric of our society.”
“Our society now is multicultural, it is multifaceted, and there are many different talents and qualities of people within our communities.”
Supporting Australia’s diverse communities is not a casual pursuit for Gilchrist. He is the chairman of the Australia Day Council, and an ambassador for Social Inclusion Week and RECOGNISE, the movement for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
This commitment to the community, combined with his revolutionary contributions to cricket, led to Gilchrist’s appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010.
Having been part of some of Australia’s most successful teams, Gilchrist knows the power and bond that comes with being part of a team. He says this is the importance of cricket and the responsibility the game holds in Australia.
“Cricket is striving to embrace all those particular parts of our community and ensure they are included as part of the game whether it is on-field or off-field in the clubrooms,” he said.
“Wherever it may be, it’s about inclusion and feeling part of the team.”
Gilchrist is quick to assert it isn’t simply good enough to talk about inclusiveness; real action and targets are vital.
“Targets are vitally important,” he said, speaking about Australian Cricket’s recently launched National Community Engagement Framework.
“We can talk about wanting to be inclusive and have a framework in place that incorporates the game on a broader scale but without something to check it off against to see how we’re progressing it probably doesn’t amount to much.”
“It’s a bold move to stand up and say these are our target points, these are numbers we want to hit, but I believe with the framework that’s in place we’ll be able to do it.”