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Kirmani doubts Dhoni's keeping ability

india Updated: Nov 24, 2006 17:46 IST

As if Mahendra Singh Dhoni's batting woes were not disheartening enough, it is his wicketkeeping capability which is now being questioned by former great Syed Kirmani.

"I don't like the way he stands on his heels while waiting for the ball to be delivered. A wicketkeeper should always be on his toes," said Kirmani, who arguably has been the greatest wicketkeeper ever produced by India as his record of Tests and victims, including stumpings testify.

As the nation's love affair with the flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman hits the downslide given his unproven ability as a batsman against short, rising deliveries, it is almost certain that his 'keeping, otherwise overlooked, would be analysed more keenly.

Kirmani further observed that Dhoni was not completely down when a bowl was just about to be delivered and hence was far too committed to his movements thus reducing his options in reflexes.

"But that is hardly strange. Nobody in world is worried about the quality of wicketkeeping. You would look for bowling, batting and fielding coaches but no coach, I am sorry to say, knows a thing about wicketkeeping."

"You would have specialists in all areas including diet, training, cardio-vascular and what not, but a man who is central to team's strategy in the middle is completely ignored," he said.

"It is not a burden, he shouldn't take it as a burden because then he would only chart the route of his failure. He should take it up with enthusiasm. History has many examples where wicketkeeper have taken up the dual responsibility of shoring up the team's batting so it is not something unusual."

Kirmani said it was the trend worldwide as batsmen were being turned into wicketkeepers and not the other way around.

"That's been the trend worldwide and Dhoni is no exception. It's been on for a long time now. I would even say that in the nearly two decades since I have been out, I have hardly seen any natural wicketkeeper who would catch my eye."

Kirmani found fault even in the 'keeping capability of Adam Gilchrist, who is rated as the best of all time, but was quick to remind that the Australian was a mixed baggage of batting and keeping.

"I get particularly aghast when wicketkeepers, even Gilchrist, collects the balls swinging his two arms sideways. Why don't they get behind the line of the ball. That's the surest way to ensure that the ball, if it misses your hands could still bounce off your body."

Kirmani said keeping to the likes of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh could be difficult for any stumper but it was not more difficult than doing it for the spin quartet of Bishan Singh Bedi, Bhagwat Chanddrashekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.

"It's because each one was so different and had so much variety. Someone like Chandra's pace alone took some time getting used to."

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