Gilchrist parallels are always sacrilegious, but evocations are unavoidable. The battle Travis Head vs. Gilchrist depends on there playing style.
Haddin compares Head’s fashion sense to Gilchrist
The Rise of Travis Head: A Player Igniting the International Cricket Scene
Travis Head is the type of athlete whose Statsguru profile is a buddy and a springboard into a world of fantastic and unexpected discoveries unless you’re a die-hard supporter of Australia. A member of his family, maybe. Or, you know, if you happen to cover cricket professionally, in which case you don’t need Statsguru because you already know everything about him, including his first-class batting average, birthday, average against left-arm fast bowlers over the wicket, the reason he’s so good against spin, and how he was the youngest captain of South Australia. You don’t, of course.
Otherwise, he is the type of player who may have previously been near the edge of your knowledge world. He’s there, of course, you know that. He plays for Australia in Test matches, as you are aware. You get a hazy impression that he is, or has recently been, very important to them, but you also have the impression that it happened in Australia, in a time zone that is very, very far away. You know he has a moustache, but you need to check if he is doing it humorously or even matters. It is a very modern, first-world problem.
Nobody is at blame, least of all him. There is so much cricket going on in so many different locations with so many other players, leagues, and titles to compete for that you could occasionally miss the rise of a player to whom you should have been paying attention all along.
Therefore, if you visit Statsguru, you might be surprised to see that he has played up to 37 Tests since making his debut in 2018 (or, considering that he is from Australia, he has yet to play more). That is the same number as Virat Kohli over that period. Thus, there is no need to visit Statsguru for him. In addition, he has now scored over 2500 Test runs, surpassing Kohli throughout that period. He’s been here a long, and he’s 10,000 runs in first class.
The Head is a player some people would only consider once they witness him play or experience his influence as the opponent. Once more, he is not at fault, just that there won’t be much time left to think about the person who comes in after David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschange, and Steve Smith if you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of them. (As a side note, Head was the sixth-highest run-scorer in this WTC cycle going into this match, which should have made him stand out, except that three of the five players ahead of him are on his team.
And if there is any remaining bandwidth, it would be better to use it to figure out how to play Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland, Patrick Cummins, and Mitchell Starc. And you’re in trouble right now because there’s nothing left to handle the minor issue of coping with Cameron Green’s generational all-around skills. In essence, Travis Head is the other member of the Australia team that may be dubbed the “golden generation” after this summer.
A perfect 146 on the first day of a world title match, a first hundred away from home, in front of what the ICC claims are the most significant viewers ever to watch a Test match—these achievements, though, may push Head towards a more prominent place in the public eye.
Some of what you may have known about him in the distant past would have manifested in front of your eyes when he accumulated the first hundred of a WTC final. For instance, the pace of the innings was well above one run per ball in the early going and almost so for the remainder. You may have heard of #Travball, a funny parody of Bazball, but the comparison cheapens it because he has been hitting at 81 in Test matches since the end of 2021, when Bazball’s pregnancy in English cricket was in the first trimester.
He has been the most successful businessman in the last two years, the only batter with over 1000 runs at a 50+ average and an 80+ strikeout rate.
Or it’s a game-changing, counterpunching character. When Head came, India was struggling to maintain some degree of control. However, after hitting four boundaries in his first 12 balls, everything quickly fell apart. Australia was 76 for 3 before he came, and now, Australia is 327 for no more harm. Here is the tweet that will remind you why you may have already seen it.
His batting style, which may have come as a pleasant surprise, is beautiful. He’s not a stereotype—neither is he the classy lefty the game always falls so hard for, nor is he the rough, constrained character the game can’t help but reluctantly appreciate. Even the fact that he functions on a spectrum between those two descriptors is unclear; he seems to have developed his own.
He regularly makes accurate shots, like the backfoot punch, to bring up his fifty, which landed a profound point. Or the fourth boundary from the original bombardment, flipped over square-legged as if he were Saeed Anwar, assuming Saeed Anwar was born without wrists.
But occasionally, as when he chops, he may be pure muscle. Additionally, he has a history of showing contempt, as seen by the late-afternoon loft over the extra cover off Shardul Thakur. A ruthless shot was fired. The three ramps over the wicketkeeper—one for a six and two for four—will likely compete for the top highlight in the clips (the last one, off Thakur once again, should win because he initially shaped to duck before deciding at the eleventh hour to sway away from a middle-stump line, lean back and ramp it).
India must have bowled more regularly short into his right armpit early on. However, he made it seem reasonable even as he dodged bouncers, including this nasty one from Shami.
Travis Head makes every effort to stay out of the way of the ball
But there’s one more thing we can learn from those ramps. Depending on your age, you might recall Adam Gilchrist hitting Andy Caddick for a century at Edgbaston in 2001—one of the earliest and most recognizable versions ever played in a Test match.
Travis Head vs. Gilchrist playing style
The point is, just as there undoubtedly was with those previous game-changing hands of his, there was something very Gilchrist about this Head innings. Gilchrist parallels are always sacrilegious, but evocations are unavoidable. And more than the recognizability of some shots or the wagon wheel of his run-scoring, it’s the impressions left at the conclusion that most conjure Gilchrist: the dazed and scrambling opponents, the dumbfounded spectators, Australia triumphant, and the day itself, which started cloudily and ended in bright sunshine in the course of a few hours, turned inside out, upside down. Read more cricket news here at IPLWin India.