Twenty20 wicketkeeping

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Do you want the better batsman or the better wicketkeeper behind the stumps for your team? That argument’s been represented by any number of individual duels over the years. Recently though, we think you’ll all agree that the better batsman’s been winning out, in general.

Blame Adam Gilchrist. He’s a great wicketkeeper, but his batting’s so spectacular it easily overshadows that fact. International sides want wicketkeepers who average 50 now, let alone 40. They’ll never get it because Gilchrist’s a one-off, but it won’t stop them trying.

But there might be some hope for the thoroughbred stumpers. Might Twenty20, that impure bastard version of the game, bring wicketkeeping skills to the fore once more?

Here’s our rationale – obliterate it in the comments with your usual gusto. How many batsmen do you need in Twenty20 cricket? How many do you really, really need? We reckon five – five specialists at any rate.

Presumably at least one of your five bowlers won’t be Tufnell-esque and presumably any eligible keepers are at least half-competent with the bat. If you’re serious about winning, then you don’t really want to be losing more than five wickets in 20 overs. Things aren’t going your way if that happens.

So you can fairly happily pick your best keeper. And you know what – there’s an added incentive.

In Twenty20 cricket, with scoring being so low and tight, batsmen get cheeky. It’s not totally unknown for them to take a run off a ball which goes straight through to the keeper. They like to jump around as well to disrupt the bowler’s line and length, coming down the pitch or batting out of their crease.

So wouldn’t it help if you had a keeper who was good enough to stand up to the stumps to fast-medium bowlers? No cheeky byes. No batting out of the crease. The wicketkeeper’s having a real impact there.

Twenty20: saviour of the wicketkeeping tradition. There’d be a touch of irony in that.


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  1. Paul Nixon and Chris Read both do this, and look at how successful their respective 20/20 teams have been.

    Geraint Jones did it for Kent last year, and they won the 20/20 cup too!

  2. Insightful cricket post! I’m shocked.

    Sussex lost the semi final in this year’s 2020 (which they were odds on favourites to win), because Matt Prior didn’t stand up to the stumps. Kent won both matches on finals day because Geraint Jones did stand up to the stumps. And because of Rob Key. Obviously.

  3. Adam Gilchrist is a great wicketkeeper. Bert Oldfied just died again after his reanimated corpse was in an internet cafe and he found your blog.

  4. I like this idea a lot, though I’m not sure how it would work out. Keeping up to the stumps would force the batsmen to stay in their crease and open up chances for leg-side stumpings, but it would also allow more runs off thin edges. And any wayward balls down leg-side would go for five wides, unless you’ve got one of the best keepers in history.

    I don’t think the keeper has much of an impact in a game where hardly any balls actually get past the batsman.

  5. Adam Gilchrist is obviously a great wicketkeeper because he has perfected the “flamenco beside the stumps” technique. Not to mention that he is an alien – those green webby things aren’t his gloves, they’re his fins.

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