Wicket keepers are like guardians in the middle who gets involved in every moment of the game. Right from the beginning, the wicket-keeping techniques and the roles of the men who kept the wickets have kept on evolving.
Traditionally, the wicket keepers were keen on gathering the ball in the right way possible. It was their primary job to contain extras and grab the nicks created by the bowlers.
The Stumpings are almost the third priority of a wicket keeper. It requires the batsmen’s involvement to acquire one. Different approaches were used by the keepers to get the batsmen out by stumpings.
Over time, there have been multiple changes in the way the job is done.
Les Ames (England), Rod Marsh (Australia), Syed Kirmani (India) and Wasim Bari (Pakistan) were the crops that yielded more number of stumpings for their teams in olden days.
Ian Healy of Australia had the quickest of hands. Regardless of his bookish gathering method, he was able to reach the bails so quickly. And it had always been pleasing to the eyes for the spectators.
Adam Gilchrist was extraordinary even when he stood close to the stumps, but except Shane Warne, no other bowlers created more opportunities for him to clip the bails off for dismissals.
The paramount task of Kumar Sangakkara’s glovework is keeping Muttiah Muralitharan’s wrist-spinners. Subcontinent tracks and the unique bowlers of Sri Lanka had been his challenge. But he played the ODIs and Tests, a lot more than the T20 where it allows the batsman to swing at their full pace which can produce the chances of lifting or dragging their back leg.
The Arrival of MSD
And then comes the lad from Ranchi with long hair and braveness behind the stumps to create a difference with his own nuances.
Right from the beginning, Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed his wicket-taking intent through his stumpings. It came naturally to him. Most importantly, Dhoni changed the pattern of Stumpings.
Dhoni wasn’t waiting for the batsmen to step down. Just a slight drag or lift of the back foot of the batsmen was enough for MSD to clip the bails. A fraction of seconds was what Dhoni was dealing with while stumping.
Dhoni, who used to be a football goalkeeper in his school days, improved his quick hands’ factor to a different level in international cricket.
If you want to discuss his stumping statistics, he is at the top of all three formats in cricket.
In this article, we will try to answer these below-mentioned questions by taking a tour on Dhoni’s stumping techniques.
- What makes Dhoni too quick behind the stumps?
- How did he carry forward his technique?
- What was he doing to improve the skill?
Dhoni Stumping Techniques!
MS Dhoni sets himself in the position from
– where he could have a clear vision of the ball
– where the blade of the batsman would never interfere with his view from the back
Most importantly, this practice has allowed him to keep his head straight, and it prevented the bend of his neck to see the ball.
A wicket keeper should be expecting every single ball to his/her gloves, and Dhoni has been an exponent of this factor. He finishes half the process of a stumping with his anticipation.
The Reception of the ball
It is his unconventional ‘receive of the ball’, that makes him look unorthodox.
Dhoni, behind the stumps, is hesitant in making a complete gathering like other keepers do; especially while standing up to the stumps.
Besides, he makes sure that he gathers the ball as close to the stumps as possible, which saves him fractions of seconds in stumping.
Taking control of the pitch
The former Indian skipper is good at taking care of the region given to him–the width of the pitch.
Rather than doing any flexible stunt, he does the basic thing. This quality has improved his footwork behind the stumps, which, in turn, produced a large number of dismissals.
As years went on, Dhoni’s hand-eye coordination got to its top-notch.
The eyes watch, and the hands will do the work. Clipping the bails has become so quick because of this factor.
MSD’s hand moves along with his head. This helps him in covering the line of the ball effectively within the range of his body.
The knack of the wrists
Dhoni’s strong wrists don’t get any impact while collecting the ball. He was able to negate the speed of the ball by being soft at hands. ‘He uses force to absorb the force‘ explained by R Sridhar, India’s fielding coach.
He further went on saying this:
“He uses force to absorb force, by pushing his hands towards the approaching ball even if it might seem like the most unnatural or counter-intuitive motion for any other wicket keeper. While his hands are going towards the stumps, there’s a slight flick of the wrists in the backward direction. In my opinion, it’s not safe hands but strong hands that allow him to do that. That’s also the reason you will rarely see him collecting the ball to his side like other keepers.”
In fact, he brings gloves forward to collect the ball. He was able to do this because of the tennis ball cricket in his early stage of cricket.
His inner leg stays where it is, and it is steady. The balance is the requisite element to keep the eyes level and balanced posture.
The inner leg always controls the balance of the body while the outer leg does the part of covering the line of the ball in making stumpings of beaten delivery in the off and middle of the stumps.
For stumpings down-the-leg, the legs transfer the weight, and the inner leg controls the process.
Being a subcontinent player, Dhoni is good at reading the ball from the release of the spinner. He was also good at reading the batsmen.
There is always a special bond between the wicket keeper and the batsman in the crease. The keeper can take hints from the back leg lift and drags of the batsman even when the batsman is defending. MSD is a top crop in taking tips from the back.
To Sum up
There is a saying–’there is no ONE formula for success’. Dhoni is the one who brought in the colours to it.
The wicket keeper from Jarkhandh stuck to his own way of keeping the wicket. And reached the top by improvising his keeping method.
His clear understanding of the game, from a keeper’s perspective has also played a part in his captainship skills. His captaincy records are just astonishing.
On a similar note, it has improved his batting too in a peculiar manner. Once, he escaped a stumping while batting, thanks to his insane wicket keeping skills.
Adam Gilchrist, once said this:
There is only one textbook that has Dhoni’s style of keeping in it, and he is the only one who has read it
The credit must also be given to his batting which yields the attraction at the first step. His batting fetched him chances in his early stage of career.
The smart cricketer made use of it to craft his wicket keeping. Also helped him was India’s then search for a proper wicket keeper who can contribute with his bat too.
Things Dhoni has to be thankful are
- The Indian spinners, who have always come up with the quality
- And the evolution of the game which demanded power–hitting from the batsmen that moved their back foot.
MSD sets up a higher version in wicket keeping. He has now set a huge benchmark for the new generation wicket keepers such as Jos Buttler, Alex Carey, Johnny Bairstow, Shai Hope, and Quinton De Kock.
Cricketer. Budding Writer. Blogs at CricIndeed.com
One thought on “What makes Dhoni stumpings – the fastest?”
Top notch article ?