The role of a wicket-keeper is vital in any form of cricket particularly in T20 cricket. No longer is the role restricted to just keep wickets. The glove-man is expected to score quick runs with the bat and play the dual role of keeping wickets and scoring runs consistently.
A few wicket-keepers could have tasted success in the IPL but did not play in the said tournament. Here is a look at 5 such cricketers:
# 1: Romesh Kaluwitharana
The Sri Lankan keeper-batsman was an exciting opener especially in the ODI format during his playing days. He along with Sanath Jayasuriya changed the way ODI cricket was played in the first 15 overs. He used to attack the bowlers from the word go and take the attack to the opposition.
He was not afraid to take risks against pace bowlers as well as spinners and was one of the main players who contributed to Sri Lanka's success in the 1996 World Cup.
In a day and age when teams used to be happy with 60 runs in the first 15 overs of an ODI, Kaluwitharana along with Jayasuriya, with their attacking batting skills used to score above 90 runs in the first 15 overs consistently and made Sri Lanka a force to reckon with in international cricket.
In an ODI career spanning 14 years between 1990 to 2004, Kaluwaithascored 3711 runs at a strike rate of 77.7. Kaluwitharana would have loved the T20 format and could have been one of the top picks in the IPL.
# 2: Andy Flower
Andy Flower was an exceptional batsman and a reliable wicket-keeper for Zimbabwe for many years. He was one of the pillars for the success and rise of Zimbabwe cricket in the 1990s. An exceptional player of spin bowling which led to his success in the sub-continent, Flower loved batting and could bat long hours at the crease while being comfortable facing both the fast bowlers as well as spinners.
An average of 51.54 runs in test cricket and 35.34 runs in ODI cricket shows the consistency of Flower. He scored 6876 runs in ODI cricket at a strike rate of 74.60 and was a very useful batsman in the middle order, keeping the scoreboard ticking when he was at the crease.
Apart from his batting skills, Flower was a handy keeper who took 141 catches and effected 32 stumpings in ODI cricket. IPL cricket would have seen the best of Andy Flower as he would have been in great demand due to his batting and wicket-keeping skills.
# 3: Craig Kieswetter
Craig Kieswetter had a short but effective career for England in international cricket. He had a strike rate of 89.93 in 40 ODI innings and 111.91 in 25 T20 international innings.
The wicket-keeper batman represented England in 71 matches between 2010 to 2013. His maiden T20 international appearance was in the ICC World T20 in 2010 where he scored a brilliant 63 in the final against Australia to lead England to their maiden ICC trophy.
Kieswetter scored 222 runs at an average of 31.71 runs and a strike rate of 116.84 in the said tournament and was also effective behind the stumps.
After the ICC World T20 in 2010, due to indifferent form he was in and out of the England team. In 2014, a ball struck him in the face that damaged his vision. As a result, Kieswetter retired from professional cricket the next year.
The English wicket-keeper could have tasted success in IPL cricket considering that he tasted success in T20 cricket on the international stage.
# 4: Alec Stewart
Alec Stewart was a stylish batsman who liked to dominate bowling attacks in ODI cricket.
In 162 ODI innings, the former English wicket-keeper batsman scored 4677 runs at an average of 31.6 and a strike rate of 68.37 which was acceptable in the 1990s. He also scored 8463 test runs at an average of 39.55 and has 19 international centuries to his credit.
Stewart, by nature, was an aggressive batsman and one of the certainties in England's then struggling ODI team.
He led England for a brief period. Impressive behind the stumps, Stewart effected 451 international dismissals. He probably represented England when they were completely down in the dumps especially in ODI cricket. Considering the talent and the skills he possessed, Stewart could have tasted success in T20 cricket in general, and the IPL in particular.
# 5: Matt Prior
Another Englishman who makes this list is the former keeper-batsman Matt Prior. He was a clean striker of the cricket ball during his playing days and was a force to be reckoned with.
Prior tasted more success at the test level where he scored 4099 runs at an impressive average of 40.19 with 7 centuries. He was a useful attacking batsman at number 7 and used to score vital runs for England at the said position. He represented the Three Lions in 10 T20 internationals and had an impressive strike rate of 127.
Prior was instinctively an aggressive batsman by nature who loved to dominate the bowlers and was a safe keeper too. He could have tasted success in T20 franchise cricket like the IPL.