Specialist wicket keepers are not preferred anymore, feels Syed Kirmani

Specialist wicket keepers are not preferred anymore, feels Syed Kirmani

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Syed Kirmani is of the opinion that every team now looks for an all-rounder who can not only keep wickets but also do the job of a specialist batsman and stated that specialist keepers take the backseat now. Allrounders are in high demand after the advent of T20 cricket at the International stage.

The latest wicketkeeper-batsman on the block for India is Rishabh Pant, who has surely exhibited his batting skills a couple of times now but his wicketkeeping skills have been nowhere near to that of MS Dhoni or Wriddhiman Saha for that matter. While England wouldn't be an ideal place for a wicketkeeper to debut, Pant hasn't been able to impress India technically a well.

However, Kirmani, one of India's best wicketkeepers has suggested that youngsters like Pant tend to follow established keepers like Dhoni rather than focusing on getting their techniques right.

“It (keeping skill) has taken a back-seat. Since the advent of one-dayers, a specialist wicket-keeper has to be a batsman as well. They are now looking at an all-rounder who can bat and who can stop the ball behind the stumps, sorry to be blunt about it. That is the trend that is being followed,” Kirmani told The Hindu.

“No coach is talking about technique now. Performance is what is required now, nobody bothers about technique and Dhoni has proved that. Now the youngsters are following whoever is at the top, like Dhoni, so the young wicket-keepers are following Dhoni, but in wicket-keeping, if you don’t have a certain technique, you will be found out,” he said.

Kirmani also sounded unenthusiastic about the makeshift wicket-keepers and pointed out how the trend had started with Rahul Dravid, who had kept wickets for India in 73 ODIs when the team needed to play an extra batsman. He even kept wickets for India in the 2003 World Cup where India lost the final against Australia.

“With the advent of T20, it’s gone a step above. Now everybody is looking for a batsman who can keep; K.L. Rahul is keeping, makeshift fellows are keeping. It all started with Rahul Dravid and T20 has taken it to another level”.

“You have got to have good collection, good anticipation, you have to a good vision. Unfortunately, there is a trend of wearing glasses. When you have a good natural vision, why bring the glass in front. That fraction of a second in front of your head, you have lost the sight of the ball and your anticipation goes haywire. You might miss a catch or a stumping.”

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