Gary Gilmour and Andy Bichel - 2 Aussies who dazzled briefly in the World Cup

Andy Bichel.
Andy Bichel.

Astonishingly, Gary Gilmour, the gifted left-handed Australian all-rounder, appeared in only two World Cup matches - the semi-final and final of 1975. He bagged a six-wicket and a five-wicket haul in the two matches.

Gilmour's aggregate of 11 wickets was the highest in the 1975 tournament, and was not equaled in 1979 either. He has an incredible bowling average of 5.63, and strike-rate of 13.09 balls for each wicket.

His match-winning analysis of six for 14 in the semi-final against England at Leeds is still among the top five in World Cup history. In that match England collapsed to 93 all out. Australia too ran into serious trouble at 39 for six when Gilmour strode in and featured in a match-winning partnership with Doug Walters.

Like compatriot Gary Gilmour in 1975, Aussie paceman Andy Bichel too dazzled briefly in the 2003 World Cup before he disappeared from the scene soon thereafter.

Bichel played only because Jason Gillespie returned home due to injury after four matches. Interestingly, Gillespie was drafted in during the 1996 World Cup after Craig McDermott departed injured.

In his very first appearance in the premier event, Bichel took two wickets in the only over he bowled against Namibia, shutting out the minnows for a paltry 45 all out. He then put up a stupendous all-round performance in the next game.

He captured seven English wickets for 20 runs in a sensational bowling display at Port Elizabeth, the second-best analysis in the World Cup after Glenn McGrath’s seven for 15 versus Namibia. Requiring 205 to win, Australia crashed to 135 for eight when Bichel joined Michael Bevan.

In a rare display of resilience and aggression, they put on an unbroken 73 off 74 balls to conjure an improbable victory with just two deliveries to spare. Bichel, unbeaten with 34, was man-of-the-match.

In the Super Six match against New Zealand at the same venue, the top-order was once again ripped apart, stuttering to 84 for seven, unable to tackle the hostility of Kiwi speedster Shane Bond. Forging a bond once again with Bevan, Bichel helped add 97 runs, in the process hitting up a heroic 64. New Zealand were bowled out for 112.

In the semi-final, Bichel scored 19 not out, to finish with an average of 117. He took 16 wickets in the tournament at an average of 12.31 and an economy-rate of 3.45.

While others cornered the glory, this great trier played a crucial role in adversity in the middle of the tournament.

Also read - Most runs for tenth wicket

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Edited by Musab Abid
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