A tale of two keepers | india | Hindustan Times
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A tale of two keepers

Dhoni and Akmal are safe hands behind the wicket and rock stars on the crease, writes Rituraj Borkakoty.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 15:25 IST

Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria was drifting the ball in and then turning it away, a la Shane Warne.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, never mind that Team India was tottering, danced down the wicket with rock star swagger to hit it over mid wicket.

Any ground would be small for such a massive hit. On the field, one man was applauding like a commoner -- Kamran Akmal, keeper of Pak fortunes in recent times, and one who makes bowlers bleed with his blade.

Behind the wicket, Dhoni is, as Gavaskar puts it, a safe customer and in front he is an FI car.

The nonchalance with which he dispatches even good balls is drawing comparisons with a certain Adam Gilchrist.

His first Test hundred had all the ingredients of a Gilli special -- scored when the team was pushed to the limit, reminding us that attack is the best form of defence.

If Dhoni's rise has been meteoric, his counterpart, Kamran, took his time to find his feet in international cricket.

At a time when his position was under threat from his own brother who is supposed to be an even better 'keeper, a former Pakistani player said that Kamran "would eventually do well because he is also a good hitter of the ball. His brother is not as good a bat".

Kamran's match saving hundred at Mohali last year revived his career and now, after Shahid Afridi, he is the man that Pakistan look to whenever they need quick runs.

Dhoni and Akmal are reaping the fruits of the hard work they've put in. Both have come up the hard way.

It's never easy to be a cricketer in Jharkhand, and to go on to become India's brightest star is incredible. And Akmal, coming from a poor background, was exposed to the realities of life at an early stage.

He honed his skills in a six-foot bylane outside his house in Lahore's downmarket Haleem Street. That's what probably made him the street-smart fighter he is today.