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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014
Lot of the technical stuff has gone out of wicket-keeping: Jeff Dujon
Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times
Port of Spain, July 07, 2013
First Published: 00:48 IST(7/7/2013)
Last Updated: 00:50 IST(7/7/2013)

Even at around 5-10', Jeff Dujon was one of the shorter guys to have played in the all-conquering West Indies team of the 1980's.

It made him perfect for the wicket-keeper's slot. He has just five stumpings to his name having rarely got the opportunity to keep against spinners. But considering the then West Indian pace battery, you can't blame him. Excerpts from an interview:

With impetus more on the ability to bat, do you think wicket-keeping is a dying art?
I don't think it's dying as an art. Wicketkeepers nowadays need to realise very few teams can accommodate a specialist. They must be able to bat.

It's a significant role. A good wicketkeeper should be able to bat at somewhere around No.7 and be able to average to at least 30.

Who was the most difficult bowler you kept to and what is the kind of relationship a wicket-keeper needs to have with his bowler?
That's a very difficult question to answer because I kept to a number of fast bowlers and some of them were really difficult for various reasons.

But the more you get to play with people the better you get to understand them, their style of operation. And of course, it's very important to discuss tactics with them.

Which requires more technique as a wicketkeeper — spinners or pacers?
Depends on what you are primarily facing. In my case, I had a lot of fast bowlers to keep to. So that's what I practised most. That's what I became better at.

Had I had a lot of spinners in my team I would have had to spend more time doing that. You would be probably be better at something that is considered the strength of the team.

Who is the best wicketkeeper currently in the business?
It is difficult to say. You tend to look at wicketkeepers due to their all-round ability to keep and bat. A lot of the technical stuff has gone out of wicket-keeping now because a number of them are primarily batsmen who can bat, which again is what most teams want.

As pure out-and-out wicketkeepers I don't think there's any outstanding player in any team now. But yes there are a lot of outstanding batting wicketkeepers.

Does captaincy become easy for a wicket-keeper like in the case of say MS Dhoni?
Dhoni is a good captain. He is an efficient wicket keeper and a good batsman. Wicket-keeper is a good central place to be in order to see everything.

But again the responsibility can make it physically and mentally quite taxing. So in terms of being strategically placed it's very good but I think it's a very onerous and tiring job to be out there to be a wicketkeeper who is also a captain.


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