Constantly murmuring behind wickets and sledging the batsman, a wicketkeeper is what I feel is the most gripping player on the cricket field. At times when the team is under pressure, he is the one who encourages team members for attacking the opponent as a wolf pack.
When talking about cricket, we certainly can’t discriminate India from this gentlemen’s game. India has always been a talent mine of brilliant cricketers and has produced some of the best wicketkeepers of the cricketing world.
So here I list 6 all-time-great wicketkeepers of Indian cricket team who have made this sport an obsession in India.
6. Naren Tamhane
Born on August 4, 1931 in Mumbai, Narendra Shankar Tamhane, was a right-handed batsman, who began playing his first-class career for Mumbai at the age of 22 from 1953-54. In his long first-class carrier, Naren Tamhane played 79 test matches scoring 1459 runs at an average of 18.23. Naren Tamhane was a promising youngster and made his test debut against arch rivals Pakistan at Dhaka on 1st January 1955.
He capped the nation for 21 Tests, dismissing 51 players with 35 catches and 16 stumps. During his cricketing career, Naren Tamhane played for several clubs like Indian Universities, Cricket Club of India President’s XI, Present XI, Tata Sports Club and Bandodkar’s XI. The brilliant wicketkeeper made an official retirement Dec 30, 1960 after the match with Pakistan in Dhaka. After serving the sport as player and a selector for decades, Naren Tamhane died at the age of 72 in the year 2002 in Mumbai.
5. Farokh Engineer
Born on 25th February 1938, in Bombay, Farokh Engineer was a right-handed wicketkeeper batsman, who also contributed as Legbreak bowler during his first-class career with Mumbai. The wicketkeeper played 335 first-class matches scoring 13,436 runs at an average of 29.52, with 704 catches and 120 stumpings.
Farokh Engineer made his international debut against England in Kanpur on 1sr December 1961 where he scored 33 runs and took two catches. In his international career, Farokh Engineer played 45 tests and 5 ODIs, scoring 2725 runs with 69 catches and 17 stumpings. Apart from playing for India and Mumbai, Farokh Engineer also played for Lancashire. Farokh Engineer played his last test against West Indies in Mumbai from Jan 23-29, 1975 and ended his one day cricketing career verses New Zealand at Manchester on Jun 14, 1975.
Further Reading: Top 10 Batsmen In Cricket History
4. Syed Kirmani
Syed Mujtaba Hussain Kirmani or popularly known as Syed Kirmani was born on 29 December 1949, in Madras. After playing his earlier cricketing career with Karnataka, Mysore and Railway, Syed was the perfect successor of Farokh Engineer India could have dreamt of. Syed was a right-hand wicketkeeper batsman and an optional right-arm offbreak bowler at domestic level. Syed made his test debut against New Zealand at Auckland on Jan 24th 1976.
In his international career, Syed played 88 tests and 49 ODIs scoring 2759 and 373 runs respectively. Syed also took a total of 187 catches (160 in tests, 27 in ODIs) and 47 stumpings (38 in tests, 9 in ODIs). Syed was the part of the team which won the 1983 Cricket World Cup and was awarded as the best wicket keeper in the tournament. After playing nearly a decade in international cricket, Syed announced his retirement in 1986 with his last test and ODI against Australia.
3. Kiran More
Kiran Shankar More or Kiran More was born on 4 September 1962 in Baroda, Gujarat. Kiran began his early career while playing the under 19’s in the late 1970s and played for Baroda at the Ranji level before making his test debut verses England at Lord’s, from Jun 5-10, 1986. Kiran was the favored replacement of Syed and the right handed batsman played 49 tests and 94 ODIs scoring 1285 and 563 runs respectively.
In his international career, Kiran took a total of 173 catches and 47 stumpings. Apart from his brilliant sportsman spirit, Kiran is always remembered for a comical appeal during the 1992 world cup encounter with Pakistan’s Javed Maindad. Kiran finally ended his international career after playing his last test against Sri Lanka at Colombo on August 4th 1993 and lest ODI against England at Gwalior on March 5th 1993.
2. Nayan Mongia
Born on 19 December 1969 in Vadodara, Nayan Ramlal Mongia or Nayan Mongia was a right-handed wicketkeeper batsman who holds the record for eight catches in a test match by an Indian wicketkeeper. Nayan played in the India U-19s in the 1987-88 season and impressed the Indian selectors scoring 305 runs and 17 victims in just five games.
Nayan made his international test and ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Lucknow, 1994. The wicketkeeper batsman played 44 tests and 140 ODIs scoring 1442 and 1272 respectively. Nayan has victim list of 107 (99 catches and 8 stumpings) in tests and 155 (110 catches and 44 stumpings) in his international career. Nayan played his last test match against Australia in 2001 at Kolkata and last ODI verses Pakistan at Dhaka in 2000.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Undoubtedly, the best wicketkeeper in modern cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the present captain of the Indian Cricket team, who led two world cups. Born on 7 July 1981 in Ranchi, Dhoni was a goalkeeper for his football team, but was sent to play cricket at the Commando cricket club in his early career by his football coach. Dhoni was included in the Bihar U-19 squad for the 1998-99 season and made his domestic debut during the 1999–2000 season and scored five fifties in four Ranji matches during the 2001/02 season.
Dhoni made his ODI and test debut under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly versus Bangladesh on 23 December 2004 and against Sri Lanka on 2 December 2005. After a shocking defeat in the 2007 World Cup, Dhoni was capped as the Indian captain for the first ever T-20 World Cup, where the young team India won the cup under the cool captaincy of Dhoni. Ever since, Dhoni has won all major cricketing titles like the 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions trophy and has escorted the Indian team to numberous test and ODI positions. Till date, Dhoni has played 81 tests, 243 ODIs and 43 T-20s, scoring more than thirteen thousand runs in all formats. Dhoni has a total of 465 catches and 125 stumpings, with a single wicket in a test match.
Further Reading: Top 10 Most Dangerous Bowling Attacks In Cricket History