Have added the poll for you
Yes, Dhoni was pretty poor in this test. Even I could make out despite my Dhoni love.
Actually Stewart is pretty underated.
Didn't miss much, and everything he did miss was seized upon with cooments that they should have picked Jack Russell (who missed enough and was overated IMO).
Rod was exceptional keeping to pace but was capable but nothing special when keeping to spin (Heally was certainly better) .
Rods great strength was his anticipation / movement to pace bowling.
Technically Rod was not as good/clean as Heally or Knot, but Rod does have a higher wicket per test ratio than either Heally or Knot. I think Rod's better movement/agility to pace bowlers meant he got his hands on more catches than Heally.
I see someone has votd for Kirmani as the worst. Clearly whoever you are, you never saw him leep wickets. Kirmani is close to being amongst the best keepers in that list. Most people rate him as either the best or the second best (after Engineer) keeper ever produced by India.
So why do people think the test standard of keeping has dropped? Is it the Gilchrist phenomenon? And by that I don't mean to say Gilchrist was a terrible keeper - only the role he played in driving the game towards seeking batsmen-keepers and not vice versa.
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It did not take root but the keepers were generally not expected to contribute substantially with the bat. When very good batsmen first started emerging amongst keepers (Ames) there was a tendency to run down their keeping skills because some how a top notch batsman and a top notch keeper was not a concept that was still considered possible.
Teams continued to pick keepers on glove work and if they happened to be good batsmen that was a bonus. Generally they batted between 7 and 9 in the order.
It was the advent of limited overs cricket that brought about real change.
The very concept of Test cricket and limited overs game was different in a vital respect. One needed to get twenty wickets to win a Test match whereas, theoretically you culd actually win a limited overs game without getting a single wicket. You just needed to score 1 run more than the opponents even if you lost eight wickets more than them.
This brought a fundamental change in that everyone who could contribute to extra runs, preferably quickly, was a potentially useful cog in a one day side. It did take some years but slowly the batting of the keepers became more and more important and a little bit less than perfect glove work was not considered such a big deal. This change was subtle and very gradual. Its not as if one day the cricketing world got up and decided, okay we do not need great keepers, we need keepers who can keep wickets AND score some valuable quick runs.
This did percolate to bowlers for some time and the concept of bits and pieces players brought us the Ronnie Iranis of the world but the maturing of the game showed that teams with only bits and pieces players tended not to do so well in the long run.
Unfortunately the yardstick to measure the advantages a keeper offered with his batting were difficult to weigh against the disadvantages of his less than the best available keeping.
That was okay in the limited overs game. So we had people like Dravid keeping in ODI's for very long stretches of time. But Test matches was another matter.
I think what Gilchrist brought about was a perception that his batting was more useful to Australia than his keeping. This might well have been the case, just as it was with Ames but somehow it led to the belief, wrongly I think, that but for his amazing batting, Gilchrist may not have been the best keeper available to Australia.
I think Gilchrist suffered due to comparison with a predecessor like Healy - one of the great keepers in the game's history. However, somehow, with Gilchrist the tradition of great Australian keepers that had gone on for over a century seemed to have ended. Australia was the last bastion of great keeping traditions. England had already succumbed to the temptation of including Alec Stewart as designated keeper to be the first amongst two great keeper producing countries to openly play a keeper clearly not the best in the land.
I dont think the same was true for Gilchrist. Not an all time great as a keeper, Gilchrist was still a very fine keeper indeed and even if he had been half the batsman he was, he might still have been Australia's choice as keeper. Its just that his batting made people undervalue his keeping abilities and comparisons with Healy did not help.
The case of Dhoni, Priior and others like that are completely different, These people have brought shoddy keeping to become accepted. This was not the case with Gilchrist who could be spectacular.
Besides limited overs game, the general decline in spinning pools around the world too may have contributed to this for standing back exposes the differences between a modest and a great keeper to a far less significant extent than does standing up to the stumps.
By the way, those who keep running down Kamran Akmal do him a bit of injustice. Akmal is a strange case. I have seen him keep brilliantly as well as miss very shoddily. His inconsistency is baffling. He is not technically anywhere near half as bad as MS Dhoni. He just seems to have strange lapses in concentration. Unfortunately, other doubts about him cast a shadow on any such traits in a cricketer like Akmal. But I maintain that kamran has always had the makings of a top class keeper and the fact that he is inconsistent is inexplicable to put it mildly.
Last edited by SJS; 05-03-2013 at 11:04 AM.
Secondly, with keepers standing back more and more, they tend to take catches right upto the second slip's lap.
I am sure if instead of Shane Warne and McGrath, Gilchrist (or Healy for that matter) had Lillee and McGrath as the main bowlers to whom he kept wickets, his dismissals per test would have been as impressive.
Of the ones I've had a semi-decent look at (Dujon, Healy, Gilly, Dhoni, Stewart, Boucher) it's Dhoni.
Stewie seems to be being slightly underrated by some. Started off as competent (he was never as bad as early period Prior, much less Wade) but actually turned his keeping into a virtue by hard yakka. Just suffered by comparison to the chap he replaced, the nonparil RC Russell, who's still the best I've seen.
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anybody seen Wasim Bari keep? How good was he?
Wasim Bari was like Bob Taylor - you just never noticed him, so he must have been doing something right
I also think Stewart turned into a very good keeper - I remember him catching Viv Richards off Phil Tufnell at (I think) the oval one year - Viv snicked it very hard and very wide - it was as good a keeper's catch off a spinner as I've seen
My favourite was always Engineer, though quite why such a great Lancastrian should have played for India I have no idea
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