The India-Australia Test series was marred by sledging and Syed Kirmani feels wicketkeepers’ chatter from behind the stumps amounted to unfair play.
There were several instances of players from both sides clashing on the field, and the final Test in Dharamsala, which ended on Tuesday, was marred by Aussie keeper, Mathew Wade, and batsman Ravindra Jadeja exchanging words.
“This trend of being talkative, I don’t know where it has come from. I was also told, but I never did. I said ‘that is cheating’,” the member of the 1983 World Cup-winning side said, when asked whether India Test stumper Wriddhiman Saha should be more in-your-face.
Kirmani, also a former national selector, believes Saha’s consistency gives him a headstart over others to take over in all formats when Mahendra Singh Dhoni calls it a day in limited-overs cricket.
KEEPING TECHNIQUE FALLEN
Kirmani, though, is not impressed by the technique of current India ‘keepers. “Saha is improving, but there is always room for improvement. He has taken some stunning catches and shown great agility. He has been very consistent in batting also. Consistency is the key,” he told reporters at the launch of ‘Trucoach-CSS Whatmore Centre of Cricket’ at the sports science centre of Sri Ramachandra University here.
Saha took over in Tests when Dhoni retired in 2014-15. His batting has also strengthened India’s lower order. There is speculation Dhoni could quit after the ICC Champions Trophy this summer, though the twin World Cup-winning skipper has said he might go on till 2019.
“Every keeper has his technique…, but trends have changed from my time (1976-86). Coaches now say technique is not required,” he said.
Kirmani, 67, said staying on one’s toes helped keepers get behind the ball and also reach farther on either side. “Now, the keepers I see are all on their heels, with feet apart.
“When you have proper technique, you play for a long time, don’t get injured. If you have the wrong collection technique, you might break your fingers. With proper technique, you will last longer, and it’s appreciated.
“There is even a technique to judge a good throw and a bad throw. A good throw, you don’t have to charge, you have to be right behind (the stumps), but who is doing it? They are standing right in front and doing like this (showing the back flick). By going in front of the stumps, you are misjudging. There are many direct hits which the wicketkeeper has stopped and run outs have been missed.”
However, he is not surprised by keepers emerging as good batsmen. “He will bat well because his concentration levels are better than anyone else in the team.”
He said there was nothing to worry about Dhoni’s successor as Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Saha, and even Naman Ojha, were all competent.
But he felt Saha had the edge. “He is showing the consistency required, though Parthiv did a superb job against England, was technically sound behind the stumps. But Saha beats him in agility and reflexes.”