IPL 2017: Rating the wicket-keepers
All eight franchises have Indian keepers and some of them have been exceptional.
The 2017 IPL league phase is heading to a finish and the four playoff spots are slowly filling up. Unlike the previous year when there was a huge closely contested tussle between the eight teams, the top three this year round seems to be well placed to qualify this time around.
The pitches have been quicker than usual and the fast bowlers have been more prominent than ever. When swing bowlers and bowlers, in general, enjoy success, another category of players come into the picture, the wicket-keepers.
The job of a wicket-keeper is no longer just standing behind the stumps and effecting good stumpings and catches. He is also expected to perform well in front of the stumps with the willow. Especially, with T20 bringing focus on multi-talented cricketers, wicket-keepers are more important than ever.
Most teams have more than one keeper and several of them play more than one in their eleven with the other forced to take fielding duties. Here we try to rate the main wicket-keepers of all the eight teams of IPl 2017.
#8 Naman Ojha (Sunrisers Hyderabad) - 3/10
The Hyderabad wicket-keeper seems to be in the team only for his work behind the stumps. The Warner-led unit prefers sticking to an unchanged top five and this has led to minimal opportunities for Ojha with the bat. However, Ojha hasn't been all that good behind the stumps as well with a dropped catch off Bhuvneshwar against RCB and some sloppy work against Rashid Khan in a couple of games.
#7 Wriddhiman Saha (Kings XI Punjab) - 4/10
The Indian Test wicket-keeper has had limited opportunities with the bat this season after being a regular in the top 4 in 2016. However, that hasn't affected his performances behind the stumps as evidenced by a couple of stunning catches. His catch to dismiss Mandeep Singh of RCB was among the best takes by a keeper this IPL. Given that Amla has departed, Saha may find himself getting more chances with the bat at the top.