Wicket-keeping is a thankless job. Teams preferred having specialist keepers in the squad during the ’70s and ’80s. But with the advent of ODI cricket and the likes of Adam Gilchrist coming though, the whole definition of a wicket-keeper changed completely. Teams now look at keepers as someone effective with the bat too.
Stumpsandbails brings you to a list of the 5 best wicket-keepers currently playing the modern game.
#5 BJ Watling
BJ Watling is the most underrated wicket-keeper of the most underrated team in the world, New Zealand. His defense is as good as anyone in the Test arena. He has played many vital knocks for New Zealand whenever they have been in trouble. His keeping skill is exemplary. He is adept at keeping to both the pacers and spinners. In New Zealand, where he plays most of the games, the ball swings rapidly and it is difficult to keep in such conditions. But Watling has come out of it in flying colors. Watling has played 134 games for New Zealand across formats affecting 255 dismissals. He enjoys an enviable ratio of 1.902 number of dismissals/innings.
#4 Tim Paine
Tim Paine is the quintessential Australian Test Captain. He plays the game hard and gives in his everything. Paine made his Test debut in the year 2010. But with frequent injuries and Brad Haddin still at his cricketing best, Paine had to bide his team waiting for the baggy green. He made an impressive comeback in 2017-18 Ashes Series after missing 78 Tests in between and from there on has been a key member of the side.
His leadership qualities came through during Australia’s darkest hour, the sandpaper gate scandal. Add to this his impeccable keeping record, Australia has a two-in-one cricketer in Paine. He is a brilliant wicket-keeper who hardly drops anything which comes to him. Paine keeps well to Nathan Lyon too which is another asset of his wicket-keeping. His stats do tell you a story, he has affected 208 dismissals in 105 innings which includes 195 catches and 13 stumpings.
#3 Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha was perennially under the shadows of legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Saha got his moment under the sun with Dhoni’s retirement from Test Cricket. Saha immediately came up with brilliant performances match after match and established himself as one of the key figures in the Indian Test team. Saha’s golden run as a wicket-keeper batsman coincided with India’s terrific run as the number 1 Test team in the world. His calmness adds much value to the chaotic energy exhibited by their captain, Virat Kohli. Saha has played 37 Test Matches for India and has affected 103 dismissals up until now.
#2 Quinton De Kock
Quinton De Kock is a baby faced batting marauder. He takes the game head-on across all formats. Kock is one of the most dangerous limited-overs batsmen in the game currently. His performances in Test cricket too have been on the upswing. He is the most athletic of all the keepers mentioned in the list. His acrobatic catches are as good as any goal-keepers save in soccer. Kock has featured in 245 games for South Africa across formats affecting 427 dismissals with a stunning 1.742 dismissals/inning ratio. He is South Africa’s all-format captain too. Is there anything Quinton De Kock can’t do?
#1 Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler’s wicket-keeping idol was Mahendra Singh Dhoni. No wonder Buttler is so good. With AB De Villiers’s abrupt retirement, Buttler is the only player who can play the 360-degree game. He is one of the fiercest openers as well as one of the most fearsome finishers in the limited-overs format. Buttler plays a key role in England’s white-ball setup too. His keeping is clean and there is hardly anything that goes past Buttler. He has affected 329 dismissals in 248 innings. Buttler is right up there with the very best in the modern game.