It’s High Time, India Finds The Right Player To Don Keeping Gloves

Gone are the days when a wicket-keeper was more often just expected to do safe keeping behind the wickets, and a bit of his contribution with bat would emerge as a highlight of the game. Cricket fans all over the world have seen some great wicket-keeping with exceptional batting skills, in the likes of, Adam Gilchrist from Australia, Mark Boucher from South Africa and Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka, who raised the bar of the game. These were some extra ordinary talents, who sneered their way into the sport’s centre-stage, which was rarely occupied by a keeper-batsman. Although these guys belonged to a rare species of such kind, they eventually took the responsibilities of a wicket-keeper to an entirely different level.

The Background:

Though it was not as early as 2004, when India finally found one for itself, in the form of Mahendra Singh Dhoni…who went on to become the greatest ever keeper-batsmen that India has seen in the history. It was this Jharkhand lad who made the likes of Nayan Mongyas, the Saba Karims, and the Sameer Dighes etc… (a few of those keepers with average potentials)…to be forgotten in no time, courtesy of his devastating batting and pretty good keeping skills. He was a dream come true for Indian cricket team, which was longing for its own Gilchrist kind, since its inception.

Image source: misucell

MS Dhoni’s Test Records:

Matches Runs Average 100s/50s Highest Catches Stumpings
90 4,876 38.09 6/33 224 256 38

 

These stats speak for themselves, as far as the impact the former test captain has had on the game. Close to 5000 runs from 90 matches with an impressive average of 38 batting at no.7, and a double hundred against Australia is not be underestimated at all. In fact he is the best wicket-keeper batsmen for India in its history, not only in terms of his statistics, but also with respect to the influence he has had, with his vast experience as long has he played. Well it’s been good 4 years since the inventor of the famous helicopter shot retired from test cricket, and also that India is not deprived of a notable deputy for Dhoni. Wriddhiman Saha is the one we are talking about, this Bengali cricketer has quite well managed to do the best from his side, concerning the contributions need to be made as a wicket-keeper batsman. He made his test debut against South Africa in Feb of 2010, and went on to become a worthy successor to MSD, in 2014 after the latter’s retirement from test cricket.

Image source: tamil news samayam

W Saha’s Test Records:

Matches Runs Average 100s/50s Highest Catches Stumpings
31 1156 32.11 3/5 117 71 10

 

In 31 matches, that he has represented the national side, Saha has scored 1156 runs at a decent average of 32.1, and as well managed his duties behind the stumps with 71 catches and 10 stumpings to his name so far. May be not that India desperately requires a suitable, rather a better replacement for this 33 year old as of now. But definitely it is time to start working, for a better and stable future as far as getting a worthy wicket-keeper batsmen goes.

The following are highly potential candidates to don the keeping gloves:

1)  Rishabh Pant (age: 20 years):

Image source: wikileaks4india

This young and dynamic promising kid deems fit to pursue his place in India’s national test side. He has scored 1502 runs in 20 matches of his First Class career so far with 4 centuries and 5 half-centuries, at an impressive average of 55.62; he has already crossed the mark of 50 catches behind the stumps. His ability to bat long and fast when required (as seen in IPL for Delhi Daredevils) and build partnerships prove a lot regarding his suitability for the longest format. If provided with an opportunity in near future, he will go on to become one of the youngest keeper-batsman to play test cricket for India.

2) K.L. Rahul (age:25 years):

Image source: india voice

Irrespective of the fact that it’s not an easy task to select the national test playing XI for India, it just does not justify enough that a sensation who has a record  7 consecutive 50’s to his name, K.L. Rahul has to more often warm benches. When it is evident to be difficult to however play him in the side as a specialist batsman, Why not mould his role a bit and convert him in to a keeper-batsman, take AB de Velliers for example, who did a decent job for South Africa in the same role, for as long as 2 years. Such kind of a talent also goes with Rahul, who can pretty well fulfil such a role. After all having such a player would not only give some additional quality in your batting, and also makes room for an extra batsman or a bowler as a bonus.

3) Sanju Samson (age: 24 years):

Image source: scoopster

He first made an impression in IPL while he was playing for Rajasthan Royals, the name of this Kerala keeper-batsman, was once before considered as one of the likely deputies for Dhoni in ODI’S. Nevertheless, Samson can very well be taken into contention for the test side; he is the third best choice as far as a long run requirement is concerned.  This discovery of great Rahul Dravid has scalped as many as 30 catches in his 29 First Class matches and has scored 1004 runs at a decent average of 32.30.

4) Parthiv Patel (age: 32 years):

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A hard-hitting batsman in ParthivPatel, youngest cricketer to make his debut for India at the age of 16, in 2002, comes next in line to succeed Saha. His impressive performances with the bat, in absence of Saha, in the 5-match test series against India in late 2016, magnified his abilities to take over the role of the next keeper for India, once again after 13 years.

Parthiv Patel’s stats *as of 5th Jan 2018

Matches Runs Average 100s/50s Highest Catches Stumpings
23 878 33.76 0/6 71 52 10

5) Dinesh Karthik (age: 32 years):

Image source: the indian express

He may very well add experience to the side, and contribute to the best of his abilities, this Tamil Nadu batsman  like Parthiv Patel, does not have age by his side, to make a permanent place in the playing XI of the side in tests.

DK’s stats *as of 5th Jan 2018

Matches Runs Average 100s/50s Highest Catches Stumpings
23 1000 27.78 1/7 129 51 5

Authors’ final say:

Playing an experienced candidate, with decent performances and invaluable abilities along side, is always a tempting option for any captain (as in the cases of Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik), but maintaining the longevity and consistency in the side seems more crucial. And such crucial situations can be very well handled only with a long term solution in the form of Rishabh Pant, K.L Rahul or Sanju Samson. The latter names are the ones which can serve the side for as long as 8-10 years on regular basis; these players not only bring depth and quality in terms of batting but also skill with respect to keeping, and alongside their playing abilities, their maturity overtime can develop as an asset for the team for a longer duration as seen in case of M.S Dhoni, who would eventually go on to become a master of the game. Although the reader can have his own perceptions and interests in relation to this subject, nevertheless this is a pretty fair answer to the quest of India’s next keeper-batsmen in tests.

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