The wicket-keeping skills of a wicket-keeper often fly under the radar while batters or the bowlers hog the maximum limelight. It is usually said for a wicket-keeper who goes unnoticed is the best in the business. However, with changing times, wicket-keepers tend to be in heart of the action, especially in the white-ball game. With some unorthodox though effective techniques, some of the world's best wicket-keepers have gathered immense adulation for their skills behind the wicket.
Wicket-Keeping is a specialized job in the game of cricket. To be the best in the world, a wicket-keeper should be agile and nimble on his/her feet. A quick stumping, a diving catch, a save down the leg side, each courtesy of a wicket-keeper, has the potential to change the game on its head. In modern-day cricket, wicket-keepers also add value to their team with their batting abilities in the line-up.
It is safe to say that the change in perception on how wicket-keepers are perceived in recent times, has largely been due to the success witnessed by Adam Gilchrist during his tenure as an Australian cricketer.
Here, we take a look at the Top-5 wicket-keepers in the modern world:
1. Quinton De Kock
South Africa's wicket-keeper batsman, Quinton De Kock is one of the most successful players for the Proteas in the last decade. The opening batsman is regarded enormously for his attacking skills with the bat alongside his brilliant glovework behind the wicket. De Kock, who has played most of his cricket on bouncy and seaming South African pitches, has carved out an image as a safe wicket-keeper for his country.
Apart from his batting, the 29-year old has 466 dismissals to his name. De Kock has claimed 433 catches while inflicting 33 stumpings across formats for South Africa in his career so far. He can grab difficult catches and change the momentum of the game for his team. As a result, the Proteas opener is arguably the best wicket-keeper in the world.
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2. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant is undoubtedly one of the finest talents produced by India in the last few years. The left-handed batsman has turned out to be a huge match-winner for India, especially in Test cricket. His glovework continues to improve ever since his Test debut for India in 2018. During India's Tour of Australia 2018, Pant claimed the record for most catches by an Indian wicket-keeper in a Test series.
In 74 International matches so far, Rishabh has been part of 109 dismissals. He has picked 95 catches and 14 stumpings across the formats for India. While he might be the most fascinating cricketer to watch, the Delhi player has already made tons of improvements to better his skills as a wicket-keeper. He made his international debut for India in 2017 and four years later, Pant is India's first-choice wicket-keeper across all formats.
3. Mohammad Rizwan
Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan is currently the top performer alongside skipper Babar Azam. Post the World Cup 2019, Rizwan replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed in the playing XI and has changed the dynamics of Pakistan's batting ever since. He's a brilliant wicket-keeper who has delivered with consistency in the last two years. Rizwan's astounding run has forced Sarfaaz to warm the benches for a majority part of the last two years.
In his young career for Pakistan so far, Rizwan has claimed 93 dismissals including 8 stumping and 85 catches for the national side. His awareness behind the stumps shows that he will finish as one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen for Pakistan.
4. Jos Buttler
England's Jos Buttler is one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen around the world right now. Apart from his excellent glove-work behind the stumps, he is also an attacking batsman in limited-overs for England. Buttler has been a veteran for the English white-ball team for quite some time now. He has had a huge impact on England's limited-overs success, both as a batter and a wicket-keeper.
As far as wicket-keeping is concerned, Jos is the second most successful wicket-keeper for England after Alec Stewart. Jos Buttler has 366 dismissals behind the wickets including 324 catches and 42 stumpings across the formats.
5. Mushfiqur Rahim
Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim is an iconic cricketer for Bangladesh along with Shakib Al Hasan. Rahim has been a constant member of Bangladesh for over 14 years now. In a career with nearly 400 appearances for Bangladesh, Rahim has accounted for 407 dismissals including 317 catches and 90 stumpings. The right-handed batsman is one of the few consistent run-scorers for Bangladesh.
Special Mention – Kumar Sangakkara
Doing the job of wicket-keeper and consistent performance with the bat across the formats is not an easy task. Former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara did this job with enormous consistency at the highest level. Sangakkara is one of the most successful wicket-keeper batsmen for Sri Lanka. The Southpaw even ended as the highest run-scorer for the Island nation.
His finest ability to catch, stump and block behind the wickets made him one of the followed wicket-keepers of his time. He registered 609 catches and 139 stumpings during his career as a Sri Lanka player. Apart from his wicket-keeping records, the Sri Lankan legend also scored 14,325 ODI runs and 12,400 Test runs with his bat. Hence, Kumar is regarded as one of the best wicket-keepers in the world.