India has been a great miner of quality spinners. With most of world-class spin players representing India, the subcontinent’s turning pitch conditions can be given some credit which complemented to their success. Batting department has also been well represented by the Indians. With players like Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin endulkar having played for India, cricket do surely owes India for such brilliant representation of itself.
While people only consider batting and spin bowling as India’s best offerings to the world of cricket, we forgot one other department where players have done their job much better than expected. We are talking about the people who – needs to wear the pads in both the innings, has one permanent fielding position throughout, can alter the opposition batsman’s mental game by sledging, cheering the entire team when down on morale. These activities are the duties of the man behind the stumps.
More formally known as wicket-keepers, these players have also impacted the game by unexpected on-field acrobatics in the form of a catch or stumpings.
Here we have a look at the top 5 wicket-keepers who have dawned the Indian colours and have impacted the game marginally:
5. Farokh Engineer
Born on 25th February 1938 in Bombay, was a right-handed wicket-keeper batsman. The wicket-keeper played 335 first-class matches with 704 catches and 120 stumpings. Besides being a great player behind the stumps, the right-hander was a fairly good player in front of it too. Possessing domestic cricket numbers of 13,436 runs at an average of 29.52, his domestic career was well-lived.
Farokh Engineer made his international debut against England in Kanpur on 1sr December 1961 where he scored 33 runs and took two catches. His term in International circuit was commendable. Farokh Engineer played 45 tests and 5 ODIs, scoring 2725 runs with 69 catches and 17 stumpings. With 96 dismissals throughout his international career, he rightfully has a place at no. 5.
4. Syed Kirmani
Hailing from Mysore, Syed Mujtaba Hussein Kirmani, popularly known as Syed Kirmani was born on 29th December 1949. Kirmani was a right-handed wicket-keeper batsman. With his domestic career being an illustrious one, being proved by statistics showing 367 catches and 112 stumpings in 275 appearances, Syed was a great wicket-keeper.
After earning his berth in India’s international team, Kirmani was the quietly efficient worker. He replaced the flamboyant Farokh Engineer behind the stumps for India, and went on to become their greatest wicketkeeper. A doughty batsman down the order, he scored two Test hundreds and bailed India out on several occasions. He played a crucial role in India’s triumph in the 1983 World Cup, with being adjudged the best wicket-keeper of that historic tournament for India. With a total of 187 catches (160 in Tests and 27 in ODIs) and 47 stumpings (38 in Tests and 9 in ODIs), he was a very valuable asset to his team.
3. Kiran More
Born on 4th September 1962 at Baroda, Gujarat, Kiran More was also a right-handed wicketkeeper batsman. He was one of the gutsy little keepers of his time who always relished a challenge. Quick behind the stumps, More possessed the statistics of 303 catches with 63 stumpings in 151 matches in his first-class career. Runs could also be amassed by the player as record books states he scored 5223 runs with an impressive average of 31.08.
His international term was similarly glorious as India’s leading keeper. Kiran was the favored replacement of Syed and the right-handed batsman played 49 tests and 94 ODIs scoring 1285 and 563 runs respectively. Switching sides, Kiran took a total of 173 catches along with 47 stumpings to make sure he proved his worth on both sides of the wicket.
2. Nayan Mongia
Nayan Ramlal Mongia, also popularly known as Nayan Mongia was born on 19th December 1969. Just like Kiran More, Nayan Mongia also hailed from Baroda, Gujarat. Being a right-handed wicketkeeper batsman, he holds the record for eight catches in a Test match by an Indian wicket-keeper. Playing the Under-19s in the 1987-88 season, Mongia caught the eye of the Indian selectors by scoring 305 runs and actively contributing towards 17 wickets that fell throughout.
Nayan has victim list of 107 (99 catches and 8 stumpings) in tests and 155 (110 catches and 44 stumpings) in his ODI career. With such impressive statistics, he was clearly a very impactful player behind the stumps. Adding to his firepower, he also contributed in the other innings of matches where his team would bat by scoring 1442 and 1272 runs in 44 Tests and 140 ODIs. Very few other keepers appeared in Indian outfits for such a long period as Nayan Mongia. While other keepers came and went, Mongia stayed on for a long time.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
More popularly known as MS Dhoni, the right-handed wicketkeeper middle order batsman was born on 7 July 1981 at Ranchi, Jharkhand. Not hailing from a state which has produced cricketers for Team India, Dhoni broke all barriers to make it to the top. Representing his state, he has an incredible record of 364 catches and 57 stumpings in 131 first-class matches. His role didn’t stop there. As a batsman too, he performed exceptionally well. With scores of 7038 runs at an average of 36.84, he showed the Indian selectors that he is a quick keeper with the ability to pile-up runs even more quickly.
Entering the International circuit during the year 2004, he was given the national team to lead for the first ever World T20 tournament in which he was victorious. Being extremely aggressive with his keeping gloves and his bat, Dhoni remained a very calm character on the outside. His approach on either side of the cricket was unorthodox which many criticized, but that didn’t stop Dhoni from breaking records, taking incredible catches, stumping at blazing fast reaction times and destructing the opposition’s bowling line-ups. Till date, Dhoni has played 81 tests, 243 ODIs and 43 T-20s, scoring more than thirteen thousand runs in all formats. Dhoni has a total of 465 catches and 125 stumpings that proved he was one of the best wicket-keeper batsman modern cricket and Indian cricket has ever seen. Under his captaincy, India also won major titles like 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy. Handling all 3 departments – batting, keeping and captaincy with sheer excellence, Dhoni remains to be an all-rounder and a deserving and rightful no.1 in our list.