Wicket-keeper

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Wicket-keeper in characteristic full squatting position, facing a delivery from a slow pace or spin bowler
Wicket-keeper in characteristic partial squatting position (together with slip fielders), facing a delivery from a fast bowler.

The wicket-keeper in the sport of cricket is the player on the fielding side who stands behind the wicket or stumps being watchful of the batsman and be ready to take a catch, stump the batsman out and run out a batsman when occasion arises;he has essentially a specialist role. The wicket-keeper is the only member of the fielding side permitted to wear gloves and external leg guards.[1] The role of the keeper is governed by Law 27 of the Laws of Cricket.[1]

Adam Gilchrist of Australia standing up to the stumps against England during the fourth test of the 2005 Ashes series in England.

Stance

Initially, during the bowling of the ball the wicket-keeper crouches in a full squatting position but partly stands up as the ball is received. Australian wicket-keeper Sammy Carter (1878 to 1948) was the first to squat on his haunches rather than bend over from the waist (stooping).[2]

Purposes

The keeper's major function is to stop deliveries that pass the batsman (in order to prevent runs being scored as 'byes'), but he can also attempt to dismiss the batsman in various ways:

  • The most common dismissal effected by the keeper is for him to catch a ball that has nicked the batsman's bat, called an edge, before it bounces. Sometimes the keeper is also in the best position to catch a ball which has been hit high in the air. More catches are taken by wicket-keepers than by any other fielding position.
  • The keeper can stump the batsman by using the ball to remove the bails from the stumps, if the batsman is out of his crease after a delivery has passed the stumps into keeper's hands. The keeper must then dislodge the bail(s) and the batsman is out, if he is still outside the crease.
  • When the ball is hit into the outfield, the keeper moves close to the stumps to catch the return throw from a fielder and, if possible, to run out a batsman.

A keeper's position depends on the bowler: for fast bowling he will squat some distance from the stumps, in order to have time to react to edges from the batsman, while for slower bowling, he will come much nearer to the stumps (known as "standing up"), to pressure the batsman into remaining within the crease or risk being stumped. The more skilled the keeper, the faster the bowling to which he is able to "stand up", for instance Godfrey Evans often stood up to Alec Bedser.[3]

Legal specifications of wicket-keeping gloves

Wicket keeping gloves along with the inner gloves
A pair of wicket-keeping gloves. The webbing which helps the keeper to catch the ball can be seen between the thumb and index fingers.

Law 27.2, which deals with the specifications for wicketkeepers' gloves, states that:

  • If ... the wicket-keeper wears gloves, they shall have no webbing between the fingers except joining index finger and thumb, where webbing may be inserted as a means of support.
  • If used, the webbing shall be a single piece of non-stretch material which, although it may have facing material attached, shall have no reinforcements or tucks.
  • The top edge of the webbing shall not protrude beyond the straight line joining the top of the index finger to the top of the thumb and shall be taut when a hand wearing the glove has the thumb fully extended.[1]

Substitutes

Substitutes were previously not allowed to keep wicket, but this restriction was lifted in the 2017 edition of the Laws of Cricket.

This rule was sometimes suspended, by agreement with the captain of the batting side. For example, during the England–New Zealand Test Match at Lord's in 1986, England's specialist keeper, Bruce French was injured during England's first innings. England then used 4 keepers in New Zealand's first innings: Bill Athey kept for the first two overs; 45-year-old veteran Bob Taylor was pulled out of the sponsor's tent to keep, immaculately, for overs 3 to 76; Bobby Parks, the Hampshire keeper, was called up for overs 77 to 140; and Bruce French kept wicket for the final ball of the innings.[4]

Arthur Jones was the first substitute to keep wicket in a Test match, when he did so against Australia at The Oval in 1905.[5]

Playing without a wicket-keeper

There is no rule stating a team must play a wicket-keeper.[6] On 5 June 2015 during a T20 Blast game between the Worcestershire Rapids and the Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Worcestershire chose not to play a wicket-keeper in the 16th over of the match.[7] Their keeper, Ben Cox, became an extra fielder at fly slip while spinner Moeen Ali bowled.[7] The umpires consulted with each other and agreed that there was nothing in the rules to prevent it from happening.[8]

Leading international wicket-keepers

Test

The following are the top 10 wicket-keepers by total dismissals in Test cricket.[9]

Leading Test match wicket-keepers by dismissals1
Rank Name Country Matches Caught Stumped Total dismissals
1 Mark Boucher  South Africa 147 532 23 555
2 Adam Gilchrist  Australia 96 379 37 416
3 Ian Healy  Australia 119 366 29 395
4 Rod Marsh  Australia 96 343 12 355
5 MS Dhoni  India 90 256 38 294
6 Jeff Dujon  West Indies 81 265 5 270
7 Alan Knott  England 95 250 19 269
8 Matt Prior  England 79 243 13 256
9 Alec Stewart  England 133 227 14 241
10 Wasim Bari  Pakistan 81 201 27 228

Notes on table

  1. Statistics are correct as of 23 August 2017
  2. Bold indicates current player
  3. Matches is the total number of Tests played, which is not necessarily the number of matches keeping wicket.
  4. Some of the players listed have additional catches in games they have played as a normal fielder.

ODI

The following are the top 10 wicket-keepers by total dismissals in one day cricket.[10]

Leading one-day wicket-keepers by dismissals1
Rank Name Country Matches Caught Stumped Total dismissals
1 Kumar Sangakkara  Sri Lanka 404 383 99 482
2 Adam Gilchrist  Australia 287 417 55 472
3 Mark Boucher  South Africa 295 402 22 424
4 MS Dhoni  India 301 286 103 389
5 Moin Khan  Pakistan 219 214 73 287
6 Brendon McCullum  New Zealand 260 227 15 242
7 Ian Healy  Australia 168 194 39 233
8 Rashid Latif  Pakistan 166 182 38 220
9 Romesh Kaluwitharana  Sri Lanka 189 131 75 206
10 Jeff Dujon  West Indies 169 183 21 204

Notes on table

  1. Statistics are correct as of 23 August 2017
  2. Bold indicates current player
  3. Matches is the total number of ODIs played, which is not necessarily the number of matches keeping wicket.
  4. A number of the players listed have additional catches in games they have played as a normal fielder.

T20I

The following are the top 10 wicket-keepers by total dismissals in Twenty20 International cricket.[11]

Leading T20I wicket-keepers by dismissals1
Rank Name Country Matches Caught Stumped Total dismissals
1 MS Dhoni  India 77 43 23 66
2 Kamran Akmal  Pakistan 58 28 32 60
3 Mohammad Shahzad  Afghanistan 58 25 27 52
4 Denesh Ramdin  West Indies 58 32 19 51
5 Mushfiqur Rahman  Bangladesh 59 25 27 46
6 Kumar Sangakkara  Sri Lanka 56 25 20 45
7 Quinton de Kock  South Africa 30 30 9 39
8 Brendon McCullum  New Zealand 71 24 8 32
9 Luke Ronchi  New Zealand 32 24 5 29
10 AB de Villiers  South Africa 76 21 7 28

Notes on table

  1. Statistics are correct as of 23 August 2017
  2. Bold indicates current player
  3. Matches is the total number of T20Is played, which is not necessarily the number of matches keeping wicket.
  4. A number of the players listed have additional catches in games they have played as a normal fielder.

See also

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ a b c "Law 27 – The wicket-keeper". MCC. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  2. ^ The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket, Oxford, Melbourne, 1996, p. 100.
  3. ^ "Godfrey Evans". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  4. ^ http://www.espncricinfo.com/wisdenalmanack/content/story/153677.html
  5. ^ "The limpet". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "NatWest T20 Blast video: Worcestershire wicketkeeper Daryl Mitchell moves to outfield". Fox Sports. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "English county side creates controversy by having no wicket-keeper behind the stumps". sportskeeda. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Worcestershire ditch keeper as Dhoni gives idea for controversial ploy". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Wicketkeeping Records most Test Match dismissals in a career". Cricinfo. 2 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Wicketkeeping Records most ODI dismissals in a career". Cricinfo. 2 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Wicketkeeping Records most T20I Match dismissals in a career". Cricinfo. 13 November 2013. 
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