Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I've got what I think is an interesting post up at it Figures. It ranks wicket-keepers by the rate at which they let byes through, adjusted by country. It doesn't work for keepers who kept up to the stumps to fast bowling a lot (i.e., keepers from the olden days), but I'm happy with how well it works for modern keepers. Here is the full list (qualification: 20 Tests) for those who want to just see the results.

I must admit I hadn't heard of some of those guys near the top. Kirmani rang a bell, but Tamhane was new to me. I was happy to see in his Cricinfo profile that Wally Grout compared Tamhane to Don Tallon. It's unfortunate that Tallon (and Grout, and the rest) kept up to the stumps so often. It makes cross-era keeper comparisons difficult. (You can't just go by the prevailing rate of byes in world cricket at the time, otherwise modern keeper-batsmen would come up as the equal of Knott, Taylor, etc.).

Ideally, we'd be able to take this one step further and get a well-founded measure of a keeper-batsman. But the main difference between a good keeper and a bad one is the number of dismissals effected, and it would be close to impossible to get accurate estimates on, e.g., how many dismissals Knott would have had if he'd kept for Pakistan in the 1990's.

I'm glad Syed Mustafa Hussain "Kiri" Kirmani is getting his due. Kirmani was absolutely wonderful keeping to the spinners. He also formed a pretty deadly duo with Kapil Dev. The best legside stumping I've seen in my life was, either Doug Walters off Doshi at the MCG or Chappell off Doshi at Adelaide during the 80-81 series (I'm not sure which of the two it was!). The best leg-side catch I've seen is that of Mudassar off Kapil Dev (on the first day) at Chennai in the 1979-80 series. Great gloves.
I thought Kiri was always one of the best keepers. I was a keeper myself during my playing days 80% of the time, and Kiri was an inspirational contemporary.

The stories of Tamahane and Kunderan make for interesting reading.
Alan Knott...brilliant chap...saw him live at Kotla '72 and '76. One of my all time favorites with the gloves alongwith Marsh, Engineer and Kiri.
I wish I'd been around to watch Knotty. Maybe one day I'll buy some videos of cricket from that era. As it is, Jack Russell is my favourite keeper. I don't really understand how - I can't possibly have seen much of him, because I was too young when he played against Australia (my detailed cricket memories are from 1991/2). But I guess I saw him on highlight clips and stuff.
I read most of that too. Dint it give the keepers some points on the batsmen they dismissed ie how good they were.

how does a keeper have control over that.
No no no, Damith, that was Ananth's piece, not mine. Ananth's analysis was full of factors that don't tell you anything about the keeper.
David, from the numbers, it is clear that sub-continent keepers concede the most extras in the form of byes. It is understandable, considering how the ball runs, grips and bounces in the last two days of a typical sub-continent dust bowl. Especially, i feel for Nayan Mongia who has had a tough time keeping to Anil Kumble for most of his career.
Yep, as you can see, the average bye rates for away keepers is higher in the subcontinent than elsewhere.
Yea, I saw that mate, I was just asking.

Ps- How do you guys rate our kid Prasanna Jayawardene.

Honestly speaking, and this is without bias, I think he is the best keeper in the world at the moment.

Im talking on purely a keeping basis.
He is flawless against Mendis and Murali.
Samir, you know recently news channels in India were trying to 'prove' that Dhoni is the best keeper we have ever had - why he trumps Kirmani, Engineer etc. What a farce! Dhoni is not even as good as Dinesh Karthik.
Discovering this post now, but for what it's worth tamhane was one of the selectors in the committee that first picked tendulkar to play for India. The urban legend has it that there was a debate on him with one selector asking: what if he fails? - to which tamhane replied 'gentlemen, sachin tendulkar does not fail'. Maybe just an urban legend and I've grown a little cynical about sachin in recent times but that story never fails to bring out the goose bumps :)
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