Kirmani lauds Dhoni for his keeping, says Saha would face competiton from other glovemen
Former Indian wicket-keeper and the man who won the Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award, Syed Kirmani has hailed the current Indian limited-overs captain MS Dhoni for his three-way role of keeping wickets, leading the side, and playing the role of a finisher in the batting order – the combination that has helped India win many a memorable victory.
“Wicket-keepers are indispensable in the game of cricket. He is the best guide to his captain, bowlers, fielders and he can find out the weaknesses of a batsman more easily,” said Kirmani.
“They say a wicket-keeper has to be born, which means he has to be born with reflexes, gifted ability of vision and he should be an athlete. Otherwise, you cannot effect a stumping or take a tough catch. So I would say the basics have remained the same over the years.”
The increasing trend of having a wicket-keeping batsman in the side to provide more balance to the batting order, the legend feels, has also led to a downfall in the standard of wicket-keeping.
He pointed towards Dhoni’s criticism for his keeping and batting a few years back and said that the brouhaha was uncalled for as long as the team delivers results.
“He (Dhoni) has been performing consistently and no one would remember 10 years later that Dhoni didn’t have a copybook technique. People would look at the results,” he said.
“You cannot keep harping on the copybook techniques, which are not being followed at the moment. You need to evolve with the game.”
The man who accounted for 234 international dismissals, including 47 stumpings, also lauded the current Indian Test wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, saying that the performance that he put up behind the stumps in the series against South Africa to the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja was exemplary.
“Saha showed great technique in the South Africa series where the ball was turning square. He was coming in line to collect the ball beautifully on the legside.”
“His movement behind the stump was fantastic. He is in the process of becoming good, better and best,” said the 66-year-old.
The gloveman also recognised the competition that Saha might face from other veterans in the domestic circuit such as Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel, as well as youngsters like Naman Ojha.
“But he (Saha) needs to perform consistently because Ojha, Patel and Karthik will give him tough competition. There is not much difference between these four.”
He also recognised a considerable shift in the mindset of the selectors when it comes to making wicket-keepers as captains of teams. “In my time, the selectors could have never appointed a wicket-keeper as a captain because they lacked vision.”
“They thought captaincy would be a burden for the keeper. But I am happy that Dhoni proved this line of thought wrong.”
“His appointment as a captain was the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket. He was the best judge of the game and he did a great job as a captain in all aspects of the term.”
Attributing the Indian captain’s captaincy skills partly to his wicket-keeping, Kirmani reinforced that captaincy indeed helped Dhoni become a better player.