Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist recalled when he felt 'suffocated' during the 2005 Ashes series. The southpaw performed dismally against England in that series as he could aggregate only 181 runs in five Tests at an average of 22.62.
That was my one time where I was absolutely being strangled by self-doubt and fear of failing: Adam Gilchrist
Looking back at the time when he struggled to play well in the 2005 Ashes, Adam Gilchrist said:
"There's one time that jumps right at me, and two examples that both happened in the 2005 Ashes. That was my one time where I was absolutely being strangled by self-doubt and fear of failing."
England had won the 2005 Ashes with the scoreline of 2-1. The visitors won the first Test by 239 runs at Lord's, but the home side edged them by two runs in the second game. After the third Test did not produce a winner, England beat Australia in another close encounter at Nottingham. The last match ended in a draw as England sealed the series.
Adam Gilchrist could not score a single half-century in the entire series. His highest score was 49*. English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff dismissed him four times in the 2005 Ashes.
"Just that it felt like the England team and Vaughany [Michael Vaughan], and Freddie [Flintoff] obviously, more so with the ball but even that whole attack, the field positioning, the tactic of coming around the wicket, which I don't think was necessarily ever a well-thought-out clever tactic, they just came about [with it] and were quick enough to realise that, and latch onto it and make adjustments, and I wasn't able to," he continued.
Adam Gilchrist then talked about the third Test match at Manchester. Australia required 423 runs to take a 2-1 lead, but Flintoff's four-wicket haul reduced them to 340-8. Ricky Ponting scored a fighting century, and the duo of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath ultimately saved the game for the visitors.
Gilchrist had scores of 26,10, 49*, and 1 heading into the third Test. The left-handed batsman managed 30 runs off 74 balls in the first innings of that game. He described his mental status after those failures and said:
“That was the first time I remember going into games, particularly by the time we got up to the third Test at Manchester. Going there where we had to try and bat out that last day to salvage a draw. Just feeling so unnatural and fighting my natural instincts, but through fear of it not working. And then trying to just occupy the crease, and that was never going to work. So that probably was the primary time in my career when I really felt suffocated by some self-doubt and uncertainty.”
Adam Gilchriststruggled to bat in the final innings of the Manchester Test as he scored four runs in 30 balls, staying in the middle for 36 minutes. The wicket-keeper batsman represented his nation for three more years before announcing his retirement in 2008.