Mahendra Singh Dhoni is probably the most scrutinised player in cricket and all of the spotlight on him is not bright. Yet, no one can take away from the Ranchi man his bragging rights in the shorter forms of the game as he leads India into the World Cup.
His permanence in the side, as captain for a better part, announced the definitive arrival of the era of wicket-keeper-batsman in the Indian scheme of things, so much so that keeping per se was covertly put on the back burner.
Blame it on the burgeoning clout of T20s or call it the need of the hour, given that 300-plus run chases do not exactly make sides nervous these days, a 'keeper-batsman is increasingly becoming more of a batsman who can keep.
Toss the query to RK Sharma - the man best known as the one who gave us Virat Kohli - and the former Delhi off-spinner concurs, albeit giving off vibes of half-dejection and half-surrender. "Well, that's how it is these days," he shrugs.
"Teams now view a wicketkeeper as an all-rounder. The presence of a keeper who can bat well allows sides to include an extra bowler.
How do his wards then take to keeping, presumed to be the most thankless job in cricket?
"I don't think keeping is a thankless job. I'd say it is job that demands enormous focus and physical and mental strength. It's a position that comes naturally. Lot of children don't readily take to keeping. If I see a kid who is very good at slips, or has sharp reflexes, I may try keeping with him. But children these days are very calculated. They know there's just one slot in the side (for a keeper)," he says.In the nets, 12-year old Kartiky Negi is crouched to collect the offerings of an off-spinner. Negi, a student of Vishal Bharti Public School, Paschim Vihar, represents his side in the U-12, U-14, and U-15 categories, and is a top-order batsman. Asked if he preferred keeping to batting, he replies with a diplomatic "fifty-fifty".