We often refer to the batsmen as the best player on the team. The trend has continued for many years and it’s only been recently that this has changed. Nowadays bowlers get the recognition they deserve and fielding too has become an essential part of the coaching manual. Even with all of this, wicket-keeping is still not given the due credit it deserves.
The importance of a technically sound wicketkeeper is often overlooked till catches or stumpings are missed behind the wicket. Spectators have become so used to the keeper doing their thing that they will only focus only on the bowlers. However, many times, a bowler could bowl his heart out and generate an edge or get the batsman out of the crease, but due to the error of the keeper, there will be no wicket for the team.
The job of a keeper is incredibly difficult and concentrating on every ball that comes your way takes a toll. With bowlers regularly clocking above 145 km/h, the impact sustained by them on their hands is also too much. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the great wicketkeepers of our times who have served the team without much appreciation.
We shall look at 5 wicketkeepers with the most number of catches in ODI in their careers.
The Australian legend sits at the top of the list. In his 287 matches, he held onto an incredible 417 catches. He also affected 55 stumpings. He was a brilliant gloveman and made the job of Warne, Brett Lee, Johnson, and McGrath easy. He was also an explosive opener and invariably gave Australia a flying start. His partnership with Hayden at the top of the order was simply fantastic.
One of South Africa’s greatest players was Boucher. He was extremely dependable behind the stumps and one of the safest pairs. He caught 402 catches and sits in the second position. He also affected 22 stumpings. Boucher had an abrupt end to his career when one of the bails hit his eye and injured him. It proved how difficult the job of a keeper is. However, Boucher played in an era when South Africa produced greats such as Ntini, Andrew Nel, Steyn, and Morkel. To make keeping look that easy when these greats bowled was phenomenal.
Arguably the best player to have played for Sri Lanka, Sangakkara also kept wickets for the team. He was also one of the sharpest captains and had the tendency to control the entire game by standing behind the stumps. He has a record of 383 catches and a total of 99 stumpings. He has also been a leading run-scorer for his team. His contribution to Sri Lankan cricket is immense and to this date, the team has been unable to find a replacement of his caliber.
Dhoni is larger than a cricketer in India. He is worshipped like a God. His contribution to Indian cricket cannot be simply defined as a batsman, captain, or wicketkeeper. However, when people analyze Dhoni’s achievements from the lens of a captain or batsman, we often discount how effective he was behind the stumps. He held onto 321 catches and stumped 123 times. He also maneuvered the field settings and directed bowlers on line and length.
One of New Zealand’s best players, McCullum was credited to revitalize the Kiwi cricketing culture and bring in never-seen-before team dynamics. He instilled the sense of fearless cricket and led from the front. He kept wickets when the team needed him to and held onto 227 catches and was extremely effective. His batting in the latter half of his career was superb and it was on the back of his batting form that New Zealand made it to the 2015 World Cup finals.