Sydney, Nov 14 (UNI) It came as a surprise gift for wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist on his birthday when he was voted as Australia's Greatest One-Day International Player today by the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA).
The 36-year-old dashing left-hander received the honour from his peers, with all the 163 players who have represented Australia in ODIs were invited to vote, but in total, 110 players voted.
Gilchrist overtook some of Australia's past and present cricketing greats with 38 per cent votes under his kitty.
Skipper Ricky Ponting came second with 19 per cent, while former skipper Steve Waugh was on the third place with 14 per cent votes.
''To be given this enormous honour by my peers is unbelievably humbling and ranks highly amongst the accolades l have received over my career,'' Gilchrist was quoted as saying in a ACA statement.
''I have been very fortunate to have played in such a successful era and with such a great group of players. I feel very fortunate to be acknowledged in this way,'' he added.
The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman has so far garnered more than 9,000 runs in 275 ODIs at an average of 35.98.
He has scored 15 ODI centuries and 52 half-centuries with a strike rate of 96.66 and has also taken 400 catches and made 53 stumpings in his illustrious international career.
''The ACA is thrilled to present this award to Adam Gilchrist. It is a richly deserved honour for a player who has in many ways re-defined the role of the wicket-keeper and opening batsman in ODI cricket,'' said ACA chief executive Paul Marsh.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland also paid tribute to Gilchrist, saying, ''Recognition by his peers is a fitting accolade for a player that has performed at an exceptional level for the past decade.
''Adam has thrilled and inspired Australian cricket fans with his attacking batting, slick glove work, positive attitude and sportsmanship.'' Meanwhile, apart from showering accolades on Gilchrist, the ACA today also named Australia's Greatest Ever ODI International Team, led by legendary Steve Waugh, while Ponting has been named as his deputy.
Interestingly, former India coach Greg Chappell under whom the 'Men In Blue' made a first round exit from the Caribbean World Cup did not find himself in the playing eleven, instead he has been named as the 12th man of the team.