Would a young Healy get a game in this post Gilly world?
Would a young Healy get a game in this post Gilly world?
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I'm not sure Gilly changed things that much. Jack Russell was pretty shabbily treated by England, and he finished up before Healy retired.
Maybe its rose colored glasses but growing up with Healy keeping I always felt he could have done better with the bat. Seemed one of those guys who knuckled down if runs were needed but otherwise just played carefree.
As a young batter I did some keeping when needed and Healy made it look stupidly easy. Its damn hard.
I think the choice would depend more on the bowling attack than the Top 6.
If my bowlers are those who could score some runs, but they aren't very good bowlers and don't produce a lot of opportunities, then I'd want the really good keeper, so that he doesn't mess up the few chances he gets and/or produces a few out of nowhere. The runs he doesn't score can be made up by the bowlers.
But if my bowlers are fantastic bowlers, but can't bat, then a decent keeper and good batsman would be better.
It could also depend a little bit on the style of the bowler. Guys like Waqar and Wasim don't really look for edges, they just attack the stumps, whereas a bowler like Morkel or Finn might prefer a really good gloveman behind. And the same could go for spinners who rely on getting batsmen stumped as one of their main modes of dismissals.
As for ODIs and T20s...I think I'd always pick the better gloveman.
Taking batting ability into consideration when selecting a wicketkeeper isn't brand new. In 1970 Brian Taber was dropped from the Australian Test team and replaced by a young Rod Marsh - virtually everyone in Australia considered Taber the better gloveman and the consensus was that Marsh had been selected on the basis of his superior batting ability. Likewise, it was always acknowledged that Russell's England career was curtailed by his (relative) lack of batting ability. That being said, Gilly has clearly been a massive changer in that respect.
I suppose it's similar to another relatively recent phenomenon, which is the trend for wanting six specialist batsmen even at the expense of a fifth bowler. For decades, teams were generally happy with an even balance of batting and bowling strength - indeed, the old theory is that an ideal eleven should consist of five batsmen, five bowlers and the best wicketkeeper. Bradman's much-maligned dream team was consistent with this, as was the all time Australian XI selected by Phillip Derriman in his well known book of the 1980s. That both of these teams today appear to have laughably long tails shows how different the general thinking has become.
If you have a great all rounder in the team like Kallis for example, you get that balance. Having a keeper who can hold their own with the bat gives you 7 batsmen.
The ironic thing is that Healy was selected over the likes Dwyer, Rixon and Zoehrer as he was seen as better batsmen, rather then better keeper. Picking keepers on batting first has been around forever, it is just sometimes they get lucky they are also the best keepers as well.
The real difference now is that top order batsmen, are encouraged to keep to extend the team's batting. So you have a lot of makeshift keepers. Whereas in the past batsmen were encouraged to keep, unless they had a nature skill.
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The role a wicket keeper plays in a team's performance is understood less and less in the stats driven times. The same, actually is true for specialist close in fielders. Choose the world's greatest side but make sure they do not have any slip fielders or a good wicket keeper and then choose the the next best side making sure you keep catching behind the wicket (by keepers and slips) as an important ingredient and you may find that such the latter team is more likely to win matches.
Just start dividing the credit for wickets between the bowlers and the catchers in specialist positions and you will make a beginning to appreciating the worth of the specialist fielders and keepers..
We have no way to record the missed catches or the spectacular ones taken miraculously and their role in the match. The bowlers get the credit for a catch which if not attempted may have gone un noticed. Same applies to keepers.
We underplay the importance of keepers largely because we only go by statistics and they are not available to assess a keeper's (or a clutch of brilliant slip and gully fielders') impact on the side's performance.
Last edited by SJS; 25-12-2012 at 02:24 AM.
Fully agree, many under estimate the value of great slip fielders.
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I was a bit bored today (rain stops work) so I decided to delight all of you with yet another one of my statistical elucubrations about fielding.
We know that is quite difficult to compare wicketkeepers from a statistical point of view: different pitches, bowlers, tactics... I've seen some ideas like 'chances created and taken', but then how you define a chance? And regardless, nobody has ever recorded dropped catches, let alone somthing like an undefined 'chance'. Byes per innings? But that's influenced by tactics aswell, put back there a good ole longstopper and 4s become 1s. So it all comes down to subjectivity really.
Yet, it occurred to me that there is a situation that, albeit not perfect, allowes me to make a little comparison: a bowler that would have bowled for a long part of his career to a WK, and then for another long time to another one. In the long run, surely dropped dollies and blinders taken would even out, and we would be able to see who was indeed able to create more wickets off the same bowler.
It goes without say, the first istance that comes to mind is that of the lovely Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist: both have played for long, uninterrupted stretches of test matches, and luckily enough both have kept wicket for half the career to one of the greatest seamers and one of the greatest spinners of all time.
So what I did was simply looking into cricinfo how many overs McGrath and Warne has bowled with Healy or Gilly behind the stumps*, and to how many wickets they contributed by looking at caught behinds and stumpings. The results are quite interesting:
Glenn McGrath bowled 2114.5 overs in 53 matches with Ian Healy as a WK, and they yielded 62 caught behinds (one every 34,11 overs); when Gilchrist was keeping, McGrath send down 2759.5 overs in 71 matches, which resulted in 90 caught behinds (one every 30,66 overs).
Shane Warne bowled 3530.4 overs in 75 matches with Healy for 34 CB and 16 stumpings, while with Gilchrist, Warne bowled 3253.3 overs in 70 matches for 39 CB and 20 stumpings. So, with Healy, there has been a CB every 103 overs and a stumping every 220; with Gilly, a CB came every 83 overs and a stumping every 162.
Now, I know that the two were different bowlers in the '90s (even if it could be argued that Warne was better before the injury) and that there is a lot more to wicketkeeping than converting caught behinds and stumpings, but is extremely interesting how, unless I ****ed up something with the dates (which is not at all impossible), Gilchrist is a statistically better keeper in every single category by a margin of 10 to 25%. Which lefts me wonder... could it be that Healy was simply more pleasurable to the eye, and because of this a massively overrated keeper? Or could it be that Gilly was really one of the ATG also behind the stumps (not pretty, but effective)? Maybe due to his height he was able to take more chanches than he dropped because of his 'awkwardness', even if those dropped ones struck in the memory better.
Just food for thought. Anyone knows of another possible similar comparison?
*NOTE: I simply divided bowling stats of Warne/McGrath in 'Before 18 Oct 1999' and 'After 5 Nov 1999', if anyone knows of some test matches in which somebody else played as the australian wicketkeeper I'd be glad to exclude them from the compute.
Interesting statistics, thanks for doing that, however I think there are certain flaws involved with that. Looking at it I think the only thing that proves is that Warne and McGrath both produced more chances when Gilchrist was keeping, not necessarily that Gilchrist took a higher percentage.
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