Cricket is a technical sport where there are multiple dimensions of the game involved in it. We have 3 major departments – batting, bowling, and fielding. The team that does consistently well across all the departments in a game will effectively come out on top in the contest.
We have seen cricketers don the specialist role of being a batter and a bowler, but what about fielding? The fielding team has a specialist known as the Wicketkeeper, and this position is regarded as one of the toughest and most crucial fielding areas.
One of the facts that make wicket-keeping the most thankless job in a cricket game is that keeper has to be in the position for the entire duration of the bowling innings, be it a T20 game (20 overs) or the 50 overs or the Test matches where the keeper may have to be behind the stumps much longer.
It is particularly a draining position on the field, given the taxing nature of the name, and apart from that, a keeper need to have long hours of concentration, much like the batsman. As mentioned, it is one of the most important catching positions as the number of dismissal opportunities coming the keeper’s way is quite high than, say, the rest of the fielding positions, especially in Tests. It becomes even more crucial in challenging Asian conditions where they have to stand up to the stumps, especially on surfaces with uneven bounce and maximal turns.
So enough said about the technical aspects of keeping, now we will dwell on the statistical aspects of it. Apart from caught behind and run-outs, one other common mode of dismissal that a wicketkeeper can effect is Stumping. It is a mode of dismissal that happens within just a fraction of a second, and the keeper has to be on their toes to complete the same. Stumping commonly occurs when the spinners are on the attack.
Here are some of the quickest behind the stumps regarding how fast they completed the stumping in international cricket.
MS Dhoni (India)
The legendary former Indian skipper is arguably the best in the business when it comes to stumping mode of dismissal. He is deceivingly quick behind the stumps and is considered one of the safest keepers in the cricket world. He may not be a technically sound keeper, just like his batting, but he more than made that up with his agility and brilliant presence of mind.
He holds the record of effecting the fastest-ever stumping in world cricket when he stumped Keemo Paul of West Indies in a mere 0.008 seconds, meaning Dhoni took only that much time to whip off the bails after the ball had left the batter and into his gloves.
Dhoni has done stellar throughout his storied career as a keeper, and this is one of them. MSD has the most stumpings as a keeper in international cricket, with 195 dismissals in 608 innings, apart from the 634 catches he took in his illustrious career.
Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)
Like MS Dhoni, Kumar Sangakkara is a legendary name for keeping, particularly concerning the stumpings he has affected throughout his career. Though giving up keeping in Test cricket to concentrate on his batting, Kumar remained Sri Lanka’s first-choice keeper in limited-overs cricket till his retirement. When he quit the game, the left-hander was the 2nd most successful wicketkeeper regarding the number of stumpings he has effected.
In all, the Sri Lankan legend has claimed 139 scalps in the form of stumping to go along with the 539 catches as a keeper across all the formats of the game.
Adam Gilchrist (Australia)
He can be regarded as the pioneer among the wicketkeeper-batsmen and arguably one of the greatest wicketkeepers ever. The Aussie legend was one of the quickest behind the wickets and rarely dropped anything that comes in his way.
One of the best examples of his quickness is when he stumped the Kiwi batter Craig McMillan off the bowling of pacer Glenn McGrath, in 2005.
The latter was by no means a medium pacer, and Adam had the quick lighting presence to dislodge the bails in a flash to complete the stumping. Overall, the Aussie opening batter has been involved in 92 stumpings, and he ended his career with a 2nd best tally of 905 dismissals behind the stumps, only surpassed by the great Mark Boucher, who had 998 scalps.
Romesh Kaluwitharana (Sri Lanka)
The diminutive Sri Lankan keeper is the 3rd on the list of the most number-stumping dismissals by a wicketkeeper in international cricket. Known as the first ever opening batter, along with Sanath Jayasuriya, to take advantage of fielding restrictions, Romesh was among the most successful stumpers in world cricket with 101 stumpings to his name.
Kaluwitharana was also fast behind the wickets as he kept on some of the trickiest sub-continent surfaces and to some of the world’s most brilliant spinners ever known, Muralitharan.
Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)
He may not be keeping nowadays to focus on his batting and prolonging his career injury-free; Rahim was one of the constant figures behind the stumps for Bangladesh for the past decade or so. Like Dhoni and Kaluwitharana, Rahim also played his career in Asia and would have had to endure keeping to his spinners many times.
But the former skipper of Bangladesh had effected 98 stumpings in his illustrious career for his team and is truly a legend in the making for his country. He has made 440 dismissals behind the stumps in 436 games.
Moin Khan (Pakistan)
Another sub-continent keeper makes it to the list; this time, it is Moin Khan, the former Pakistan skipper. He stands in the 5th position in the all-time most stumpings list with 93 dismissals. Like the other four, Moin also had to keep against some of the best spinners on tricky surfaces, making his achievements more special.
The right-hander had achieved 434 scalps to his name in his international career.