Former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has revealed that he and Shane Warne had had a text chat about eight hours before the legendary leg-spinner passed away on Friday while holidaying in a villa in Thailand.
Adam Gilchrist also revealed a funny story of why his close friends, including Warne, nicknamed him ‘Church’.
“I spoke to Shane about a week ago. I received a really nice text from him. Probably, I am assuming this was eight hours before he passed away. He was just sending me a message. He was one of the few guys that consistently called me ‘Church’,” Adam Gilchrist told ABC News.
“It’s a nickname only those in the inner circle knew about – about being confused by a young English fan and they called me ‘Eric Gilchurch’. He always called me ‘Churchy’ and it always felt like a term of endearment from a friend,” he added.
The text message that Warne sent to Adam Gilchrist was applauding the latter for the vocal tribute he had given to Rod Marsh, the legendary Australian wicket-keeper who had also died no more than 24 hours before Warne. Gilchrist said that he will never delete the last message from Warne.
“He (Warne) messaged me saying, ‘Church, wonderful tribute to Rod Marsh’. Which I was very honoured to do a voice over. We were not even close to coming to terms with the passing of my childhood hero in Rod Marsh and another legend of the cricket world. Warnie just messaged me and said ‘well done on that sir’. So that was the last contact. It’s a text message I will never delete,” an emotional Adam Gilchrist said.
Adam Gilchrist had the best seat in the house to witness Warne’s magic; he had kept wicket in 70 of Warne’s 145 games while Ian Healy was the stumped in 74 of Warne’s Test career. The term ‘Bowling Shane’ was invented by Gilchrist as he egged up the leggie from behind the stumps.
The 50-year-old reminisced the “highlight of my cricketing career” whenever Warne unfurled his magic with the ball, the theatrics he created with the crowd getting excited as soon the moment he came on to bowl.
“It was the highlight of my cricketing career, simple as that. Forget the runs and everything, to keep wicket to Shane Warne… Ian Healy and I pretty much exclusively had the best seat in the house to watch a maestro at work. It all started at the top of his bowling mark. In fact, it actually started when he took his hat off. And the crowd knew that he was about to come on to bowl. Give the hat to the umpire, get to the top of the mark,” Adam Gilchrist recalled.
“And then the theatrics. It was almost like a film director… a Spielberg type persons there. Just pulling the strings and setting everything and building it up… to the moment, when he invariably got his prey. It was an amazing angle and I would say that a very close and personal part of my journey was that keeper-bowler relationship with Shane.”