Deep Dasgupta, former Indian wicket-keeper has seen the connection between wicket-keeping and leadership. If Dinesh Karthik had stayed on as Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain, five out of eight teams would have had wicket-keepers as leaders of their respective teams this year.
Deep Dasgupta: Wicket Keepers Are Natural Leaders
With the likes of MS Dhoni (CSK), Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals), KL Rahul (Punjab Kings), and Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals) at the helm of affairs, there is certainly a big connection here.
“Without the badge of being the captain also, wicket-keepers are fielding captains. They are natural leaders,” Deep Dasgupta, who has led his stateside Bengal to two Ranji Trophy finals, told Sportskeeda hours before IPL’s first game between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai on Friday.
“You have to understand the role of the captain in a team and it is to get the squad together. I don’t think there is a better choice than a wicket-keeper doing that. While batting, captain doesn’t have much of a role but while fielding you have to lead the side on your own. At that hour, who is the most active guy on the field?” Deep Dasgupta asked.
KL Rahul won the Orange Cap award in the 2020 edition of the IPL. The right-hander plundered 670 runs last year and scored them at an average of 55.83. Rishabh Pant, the left-hander has scored 2079 runs in the IPL and has scored them at a whopping strike rate of 151.97.
AB De Villiers has done the keeping duties in 44 of the 169 matches that he has played in the IPL. The South African batting legend has scored a staggering 4849 runs in IPL cricket and has scored them at an average in excess of 40. Jos Buttler, the right-hander has scored 1714 runs at an average of 34.98. Dinesh Karthik of KKR has kept wickets in a colossal 180 innings and has dismissed 140 batsmen with his gloves behind the stumps.
Wriddhiman Saha, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicketkeeper has 77 dismissals against his name as a keeper. Quinton De Kock has kept in 59 innings in the IPL and has dismissed 58 batsmen. MS Dhoni has played as a keeper 197 times in the IPL and has dismissed 148 batsmen.
Deep Dasgupta: It’s A Part Of The Job To Lead For Keepers Behind The Stumps Irrespective Of Being A Captain
Of course, it’s the wicket-keeper, who is constantly watching from behind the stumps and that makes a lot of difference in terms of viewing the game also.
“If you are behind the stumps, it is a part of the job to lead the side whether you are a captain or not,” Deep Dasgupta suggested.
The acumen of the wicket-keepers is so good that some of the best batsmen in Indian cricket are all wicket-keepers. Rishabh Pant is the latest on the list as he was appointed the captain for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 after Shreyas Iyer had a shoulder dislocation and underwent successful surgery.
The surge of batting talent through IPL has also seen the birth of Ishan Kishan and gone are the days when the critics questioned the presence of four wicket-keepers in the playing XI as it happened in the 2019 World Cup semi-final game against New Zealand. In that match, India had four wicket-keepers in MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, and Dinesh Karthik.
For CSK, MS Dhoni will be the keeper although the team has other options like N Jagadeesan and Robin Uthappa while for MI, Ishan Kishan will play as a specialist batsman at No. 4, and Quinton De Kock will open the batting with Rohit Sharma. Aditya Tare will remain on the bench.
Skipper Rishabh Pant, Sam Billings, Vishnu Vinod are options for Delhi while Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Anuj Rawat are wicket-keeping options for Rajasthan. For KXIP, now PBKS, KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh are the options as keepers. Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami are there in the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad as keepers. Dinesh Karthik, Tim Seifert, Sheldon Jackson are keeping options for KKR while RCB has 4 options in AB de Villiers, Finn Allen, Mohammed Azharuddeen, KS Bharat.