Latest Cricket Articles
Test wicketkeepers: Everything you wanted to know about
Test wicketkeepers: inarguably the players with the toughest task in cricket. They have to be on their toes for hours on end, go down and up a million times a day, cannot afford to relax even for a minute, always have an eye on what is happening to the ball and nowadays are expected to bat for hours and/or score runs quickly. And some of these keepers are expected to captain their teams and/or open the batting. Why would anyone take up this tough task? This article is a homage to those tough men.
In order to get a reasonable number into the analysis set, I lowered my initial qualification criterion of 100 dismissals to 75. 48 keepers qualify and this seems to be a fair number. On an average this represents a lower limit of 20-30 Tests, which is a Test career between 3 and 5 years.
1. Total Dismissals (All tables current upto Test 2054 (Ind-Nzl First Test))
This is the base table and is ordered on the number of Dismissals. This is not just a longevity based achievement. To play over 100 matches, as a top-flight keeper, is something incredible and has to be recognized. An important fact to be noted is that the number of Tests shown are the Tests in which the players played as wicketkeepers. For two players, Sangakkara and Alec Stewart, this distinction is significant since they have played a number of Tests as batsmen. Andy Flower and Parore have also played a few Tests as batsmen. This table lists the keepers who effected over 200 dismissals.
The table is topped by the peerless South African keeper, Boucher, and then come three top keepers from Australia. Dujon follows next and then Knott. The top-10 is rounded off by Bari and Dhoni.
Readers are likely to come in with comments that the misses by keepers are not included. This is true because the data is not available. Cricinfo might have the data for the past few years or so but not for over 75% of the Tests. And I will not make any guess-work. My analysis is based 100% on the available verifiable data.
2. Dismissals per Test
This is a performance measure. Dismissals per Test is a very important parameter to measure the keepers' contribution to the team. Only two keepers have effected more than 4 dismissals per Test, which works out an average of 30% of the team dismissals. Readers might argue that the bowlers create the opportunities for dismissals. However that is only partly true. The keepers have to gauge the bounce and stand in the correct position and posture. It is my belief that only one-in-three catches travel straight to the keepers. The other two have to be caught well. Anyhow 4+ dismissals per Test goes a long way in influencing the result in the team's favour. 3.06 is the overall average.
In the top-9 keepers, Langley, with a figure of 3.77 belongs to the 1950s and Marsh, with 3.70, belongs to the 1970s. The others all are current or recently retired. Why I wonder. More opportunities? better techniques?
At the other end, we have Ames from way back, Khaled Mashud and Engineer. The last two have fewer than 2 dismissals per Test. Why should Engineer's numbers be so low, almost matching the numbers of top slip fielders. Possibly many of the spinners' wickets would have been effected through catches to close fielders, rather than keeper.
3. Dismissals as % of similar team dismissals
|Wicket Keeper||Cty||From||To||Tests||C-St||Team CSt||Dismissals %|
This is a nice-to-view table and is not used in any Ratings work. Alexander of West Indies had a hand in 44% of his team's similar dismissals. And look at Kamran Akmal: he has had a hand in over 44% of his team dismissals. That is something. Saleem Yousuf has a similar 40-plus % figure. Gilchrist makes it to the top-10, with an impressive figure of 37.2%. One-third seems to be the overall average.
At the other end, Engineer clocks in with a very low 21.1%, as expected.
The Byes per Test is a measure of the keeping quality. Somewhat indirectly, would it also have a correlation with the chances missed? Downton is somewhere in the stratosphere with an average of only 2.8 byes per Test. Richardson, the current CEO of ICC, also has a very low figure of 3.5, matched by Khaled Mashud. A few other not-so-well-known keepers have low byes/Test figures of around 5.0. 7.0 byes/match seems to be an above average performance level. 6.9 byes/match is the overall average.
The last three have all conceded more than 10 byes per Test. Ames probably has a high figure because of the way England bowled during the 1930s.
5. Stumping %
|Wicket Keeper||Cty||From||To||Tests||C-St||Stumpings||St %|
Number of stumpings and the % of total keeper-dismissals is another nice-to-have information. It really has no bearing on evaluation of a keeper performance: rather, reflects the way the bowling attacks were formed. Oldfield, keeping to Grimmett and O'Reilly, has got 40% of his dismissals as stumpings. No surprises there. Same with Ames. Lilley was a pre-WW1 keeper. Note Prasanna Jayawardene's high share of 23%, no doubt due to Muralitharan's presence and recently Herath. Two Indian keepers of old and Imtiaz come in afterwards.
At the other end are couple of West Indian keepers and the CEO of ICC. They probably did not keep to any quality spinner. Less than 2% means stumpings for these keepers were as rare as Haley's (or more aptly, here, Healy's) comet.
6. Total Runs
|Wicket Keeper||Cty||From||To||Tests||BPos||Runs scored|
Live Matches Scorecards
- ICC Champions Trophy, 2013
- Pakistan tour of Scotland, Ireland and England 2013
- New Zealand tour of England, 2013
- Bangladesh tour of Zimbabwe, 2013
Search On Web