Being a wicketkeeper in cricket is a tough task since people tend to notice him more compared to other players. His performance is more scrutinized because a missed catch or stumping chance changes the course of the match. Over the years, the role of a wicketkeepers in Test matches has gradually evolved. In earlier days keepers batted eighth or below and averaged in the low to mid-20s. They were only in the playing XI for their glovework.
However, in the past 15 to 20 years, there has been a significant shift in expectations from a wicketkeeper. In addition to obviously being required to be excellent with the gloves, wicketkeepers are now supposed to be inclined to bat in the top seven positions and consistently help the team by scoring runs.
We have tried to rank top wicket keepers of all times. The primary criteria has been the impact they had on the game and the number of matches they help their team win, both with gloves and bat.
10. MS Dhoni
We believe that MS Dhoni’s proficiency with the gloves frequently goes underappreciated. Having 275 dismissals in 86 Test matches, he ranks fifth among all-time greats of Test cricket, behind only Jeffrey Dujon and Alan Knott. Although statistics are not the end-all and be-all, no one can contest the figures that Dhoni has gathered over the past ten years.
224 versus Australia in Chennai and 76* versus England in a game-saving performance at Lord’s in 2007 are remembered as some of his greatest innings. You realize how vital he has been for India and how much he is missed after his retirement. Moreover, when you take into account the notion that he has also been the skipper for the 6-7 years, you miss Mahi even more.
9. Alec Stewart
In his prime, Alec Stewart was a highly good gloveman as well as an elegant batter. Being an Englishman, he was particularly good against the seamers. He remained an integral part of the team duding the 90’s; a turbulent era for English cricket.
In his 82 Test appearances as a wicket-keeper, he has 241 dismissals, 227 catches, and 14 stumpings. He also accumulated 4500 runs at an average of around 35.
8. Les Ames
From 1929 until 1939, Les Ames represented England in Test matches. And, during that period became one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen in the history of the sport.
As a gloveman in 47 Test matches, he had 97 dismissals in addition to nearly 2500 runs with an average of 40.56 alongside 7 half-centuries and 6 centuries.
7. Rod Marsh
Rod Marsh, who was given the nickname “Iron Gloves” at the beginning of his Test stint, significantly improved over time and finished with 355 dismissals in Test cricket. Which is a testament to his rigorous work ethic and desire to do better. He was also a sharp cricket strategist, frequently offering Ian Chappell, Australian skipper during the 1970s, tactical guidance.
It’s interesting to note that because of his superior batting, he was given Test cap before Brian Taber. However, the Western Australia player will likely be dismayed that his career ended with a batting average of 26.51.
Most Dismissals by wicketkeepers in Test Cricket
6. Ian Healy
Shane Warne, the legendary Australian spin bowler, has said on multiple occasions that Ian Healy was the best wicketkeeper who kept wickets for him. This is a great compliment considering that Gilchrist was the other keeper.
Although Healy was a better wicketkeeper than Gilchrist, the former was a much outstanding batsman. The Queenslander contributed significantly to many of Warne’s and Glenn McGrath’s early wickets since he was equally at ease sticking to both speed and spin.
5. Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara retired from test wicketkeeping in 2008. Because he considered the duties of both the position and his role as a top-order batsman to be too much for him to bear.
However, he excelled in both departments. He represented Sri Lanka in 48 Tests as a wicketkeeper. During that time, he took 131 catches, and stumped 20 batsmen. He batted with an average of 40.48 and scored 7 hundreds, with a top score of 230 versus Pakistan. However, once he left wicketkeeping, his batting improved significantly and he finished the career with an average of 57.40.
4. Alan Knott
Possibly the first ever outstanding wicketkeeper-batsman of Test cricket was Alan Knott. He played for England for over 15 years. During this time, he dismissed 269 batters and amassed an exceptional batting average of 32.75. This was particularly outstanding for a gloveman at the time.
While he was perfect standing back to fast bowlers. It was very delightful to see him stand up close to the wickets to his Kent as well as English colleague Derek Underwood’s left-arm spin. He possessed tremendous fitness, which allowed him to move up and down throughout the day with ease. Moreover, he had excellent footwork which made him more brisk and agile behind the wickets.
3. Mark Boucher
Mark Boucher, concluded his Test career with 555 dismissals in 147 test matches the highest ever in the game. He is ranked No. 3 on the list of all-time great wicketkeepers. Boucher may not have received the public praise he deserved in his career, though.
He would, nevertheless, undoubtedly treasure the notion that he was regarded highly by his contemporaries. Who understood the significance of a good team player. Despite having a modest best batting average of 30.30, he did contribute significant runs whenever the team needed him.
2. Andy Flower
Andy Flower played only 55 games, which is comparatively less compared to his contemporaries. He had an illustrious career. In his career, he had 142 catches, nine stumpings, and an excellent batting average of 53.70. He served as the backbone of the Zimbabwean batting lineup while occupying the crucial no 5. spot. Just to put things in perspective, even a player of Kumar Sangakkara’s caliber eventually had to hang up the gloves because spending all day keeping wicket was hurting his batting. But, Flower maintained an average of above while keeping the wickets for his country.
1. Adam Gilchrist
Without a shadow of a doubt, Gilchrist tops the list of all-time greatest wicketkeepers in the history of the sport. He amassed a stunning 416 dismissals while scoring 5570 runs with averaging of 47.60 in 96 matches.
Gilchrist was the main cause behind teams altering their selection criteria for wicket keepers. He provided Australia with a significant advantage over other teams while batting at No. 7. As a result, other teams were forced to hunt for someone who could fill the same role.