Batsmen or bowlers? Who plays the key role in cricket? People keep arguing with batsmen and bowlers. But there is another player who often gets overlooked. Yes, we are talking about the wicketkeepers.
Keepers play a vital role in cricket. They are often underappreciated, though. They play a key role in fielding. A good wicketkeeper needs to be agile, a quick thinker, reflexive, and also good at communicating.
These are some difficult requirements. And only a few mastered the art of keeping in the century-old history of cricket. Let’s check on the top 10 best wicketkeepers in cricket history who gave keeping an art form.
Here Are The Top 10 Best Wicketkeepers in Cricket History
|Mark Boucher||South Africa|
|Kumar Sangakkara||Sri Lanka|
|Jeff Dujon||West Indies|
|Brendon McCullum||New Zealand|
|Quinton De-Cock||South Africa|
1. Mark Boucher
|Full Name||Mark Verdon Boucher|
|Date of birth||December 3, 1976|
|Place of birth||East London, South Africa|
|International debut||December 1997 (Test)|
If you want to talk about wicketkeepers, there is always one starting point. Mark Boucher. No one can argue about the greatness of Boucher. He was born in 1976 in South Africa. At the age of 21, he got to play for the national team of South Africa.
South Africa has two reputations in cricket. One is that they cannot handle the pressure of big games and eventually lose. And the second is that they take fielding very seriously. It has been their years-long tradition. And Mark Boucher has also been a part of it.
After his debut in 1997, he became an integral part of the team, mostly because of his excellent work behind the stumps. He was too good at it. He would hardly drop a catch. If a batsman got dropped by Boucher, he had to consider it his lucky day.
Boucher played 147 tests before retiring in 2010 from test cricket, and he recorded 532 catches to his name. The most by any keeper. And to this date, he is the only player to have taken 500 catches in test cricket.
Boucher had been a part of all three formats for South Africa. He played nearly 300 ODIs and 25 T20Is. With everything summing up, he had more than a thousand dismissals! Can you believe it?
When Boucher started playing for South Africa, up till then, the wicketkeeper’s primary job was to work behind the stump. They did not have to bother about contributing through the batting. But things began to change slowly. Gilchrist, Dhoni, and Sangakara deserve the credit for this.
Boucher was not a great batsman. However, he has scored more than ten thousand runs combining ODI and tests. He also had five centuries in test cricket.
Career Wicketkeeping Stats of Mark Boucher
2. Adam Gilchrist
|Full Name||Adam Craig Gilchrist|
|Date of birth||November 14, 1971|
|Place of birth||Bellingen, Australia|
|International debut||November 1996 (ODI)|
Adam Gilchrist had been a part of three ICC World Cup-winning Australian teams! What a successful career he had! Gilchrist was an important part of all those three teams, not just as a keeper but also as a batsman.
Adam Gilchrist was born in 1971 in Bellingen, Australia. He showed great performance in the Under 17 team and also in domestic cricket. But it was not easy to get to play for mighty Australia.
But apart from being a good keeper, he had another talent. And that was his explosiveness. Gilchrist could be very dangerous as a batsman on his day. So eventually, he got to play for the Australian national team in 1996. He was called for the ODI team.
Gilchrist proved his worth both as a batter and a keeper and got called for the test team in 1999. Gilchrist played 96 test matches and recorded 379 catches, along with 37 stumpings. Before retiring from all sorts of international cricket in 2008, Gilchrist caught 796 catches.
And who can forget his 149 runs innings in the 2007 ICC World Cup against Sri Lanka? He demolished the Lankan bowling attack in the final. He scored 1479 off only 104 balls with 8 sixes and 13 boundaries.
Gilchrist is a legend in Australian cricket. He changed the perspective toward keepers. He showed that keepers could contribute in both fielding and batting. He definitely belongs higher in the top 10 best wicketkeepers in cricket history.
Career Wicketkeeping Stats of Adam Gilchrist
3. MS Dhoni
|Full Name||Mahendra Singh Dhoni|
|Date of birth||July 7, 1981|
|Place of birth||Ranchi, Bihar, India|
|International debut||December 2004 (ODI)|
Who doesn’t know the name, MS Dhoni? The former Indian captain was best at many things. He is considered:
- One of the best and most successful captains of all time.
- One of the finest wicketkeeper-batsman, and also
- One of the best wicketkeepers of all time.
You must have noticed both Gilchrist and Boucher were excellent in catching behind the stum. But Dhoni was not just good at catching; he was also great at stumpings. He had cat-like reflexes.
If you are batting and Dhoni is behind the stump, you need to be careful about your footing. And think twice before going dancing down the wicket. Because if you miss the ball, Dhoni won’t miss the stumping. You will be sent to the pavilion.
With 123 stumpings, Dhoni holds the record for most stumpings in ODI. He also has more than 600 international catches to his name. But that is not all. In modern cricket, DRS is an important issue. You have the chance to challenge the umpire’s decision, but the chance is limited.
You have to use your DRS wisely. And there is no one better than MSD in it. If he was in the non-striking end, the striker would always come to him for his suggestion. And when he was behind the stump, if he asked for the review, you knew something was going to change.
But that is not all. He was a great captain, and part of his greatness was based on his ability to address the fielders. He knew where to set the fielders. You will find hundreds of videos on Youtube about how he fooled opponents with his cleverness.
As a batsman, Dhoni scored more than ten thousand runs in ODI. He was the first wicketkeeper to rank number one in the ODI batting ranking. And who can forget his world cup winning knock in the 2011 final against Sri Lanka? Dhoni scored an unbeaten 91 from 79 balls and won the match with an iconic six.
Dhoni is a legendary player. He changed the history of Indian cricket. Under his captaincy, India won every major ICC trophy. He will always be remembered as one of the best cricketers of all time.
Wicketkeeping Stats of MS Dhoni
4. Rod Marsh
|Full Name||Rodney William Marsh|
|Date of birth||November 4, 1947|
|Place of birth||Armadale, Australia|
|International debut||November 1970 (Test)|
Rod Marsh is another former Australian wicketkeeper who made keeping an art. He was born in 1947 in Armadale, Australia. Because of his great performance in domestic cricket, he was called to the Australia national team in November 1970 against England.
Marsh quickly made a name for himself through his performance behind the wicket. He had a very safe pair of hands. He would hardly drop a catch. Marsh would give his best effort no matter how difficult the catch was. He was great at catching both high and low catches.
Marsh was also very agile and had great reflexes. He was quick at breaking the stump. He had the ability to move quickly and react to the ball. And most importantly, Marsh was consistent. He had been on top of his game since the beginning of his career.
Rod Marsh received a total of 463 international catches. Besides, he could occasionally contribute with the bat. He registered 20 international fifties in his career. Marsh retired from all sorts of cricket in 1984. By then, he had already achieved the status of one of the top 10 best wicketkeepers in the history of cricket.
Wicketkeeping Status of Rod Marsh
5. Kumar Sangakkara
|Full Name||Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara|
|Date of birth||October 27, 1977|
|Place of birth||Matale, Sri Lanka|
|International debut||July 2000 (ODI)|
Among all the names we have here, Kumar Sangakkara was a better batsman than a keeper. But that does not mean that he was not a great keeper. He was among the best. So, you can guess that he was one of the very best batsmen in the history of cricket.
Kumar Sangakara was born in 1977 in Matale, Sri Lanka. He had his international debut in 2000 vs. Pakistan. In the same series, he had his test debut as well. Since then, he became inseparable from Sri Lankan cricket for the next fifteen years.
Sangakara quickly drew everyone’s eyes with his performance behind the stump. He was great in both catching and stumping. He recorded 99 stumpings in ODI, the second most for a keeper. But with age, he gradually became one of the finest batters in cricket.
Sangakkara has scored 63 international centuries. He scored 38 test centuries and turned 11 of them into a double hundred. He is the only second player to have scored double centuries ten or more times.
And we cannot leave behind his performance in the 2015 ICC World Cup. He reached the end of his career, and that is when he was at the peak of batting. He scored back-to-back four centuries in that world cup. A feat. that no one could match.
Sangakkara holds the record for most runs as a wicketkeeper-batsman. And that is not all. He is the highest run-scorer in Sri Lanka cricket with more than twenty-seven thousand runs. With more than fourteen thousand runs, he also holds the position for the second-most runs in ODI of all time.
Sangakara protected the Lankan wickets for more than a decade. He is, no doubt, one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
Wicketkeeping Stats of Kumar Sangakkara
6. Ian Healy
|Full Name||Ian Andrew Healy|
|Date of birth||April 30, 1964|
|Place of birth||Brisbane, Australia|
|International debut||February 1988 (Test)|
Ian Healy, another former Australian great wicketkeeper. No wonder they are the most dominant side in cricket. Healy was born in 1964 in Brisbane, Australia. He made his international debut in 1988 against Pakistan.
Healy remained an important asset for Australian cricket for the next decade. He played 119 test matches and received 366 catches, along with 29 stumpings. Before Gilchrist made his debut in 1996, Healy had been a regular in the ODI squad as well.
Healy was a right-handed batsman. He was not among the best batter, but still, he scored four test centuries. His ODI batting average was a little above 21.
To date, Healy is considered one of the finest wicketkeepers to grace the sport. And speaking of Healy, we need to introduce Shane Warne here.
Warne is one the best, if not the best, spinners in cricket history. Warne was known for his ability to deceive batsmen through massive spin. And Healy was always there to catch the ball, break the stump and send the batter to the pavilion.
Healy was a man on whom both the spinners and the pacers could rely. Fast bowlers knew they just had to nick the bat, and Healy would grab the ball. Matching Healy’s greatness in keeping is quite impossible.
Wicketkeeping Stats for Ian Healy
7. Jeff Dujon
|Full Name||Jeffery Dujon|
|Date of birth||May 28, 1956|
|Place of birth||Kingston, Jamaica|
|International debut||March 7, 1981, vs Australia (test)|
Jeff Dujon is a former West Indies wicketkeeper. He is a legend of the game and a lucky charm for West Indies cricket. West Indies had been the most dominant test-playing nation from 1981 to 1991. During this time, Jeff Dujon played 81 tests, and the Indies never lost any of those games!
Jeff Dujon was born in 1956 in Kingston, Jamaica. He made his test debut in 1981 in a test series against Australia. Dujon used to be a part-time wicketkeeper and was highly inspired by the great Rod Marsh. But soon, Dujon proved his ability behind the stump and became a regular.
You have noticed that West Indies players are great in shape. They are massively tall and powerful. So was the case in Dujon’s time. Compared to them, Dujon was much smaller, like a pigmy. But his athleticism overshadowed his size.
Dujon was great at stretching himself to take one-handed catches. He received a total of 267 catches playing only 81 tests. Back then, keepers were not supposed to be great batters. Dujon, too, was not a great batsman, but he would cause trouble for the opponents from time to time in the lower order.
Jeff Dujon has scored five centuries in test cricket. His career-best score was 139. He ended his test career with a batting average of 31, which was very decent for a keeper back then.
Career Stats of Jeff Dujon as a Wicketkeeper
8. Brad Haddin
|Full Name||Bradley Haddin|
|Date of birth||October 23, 1977|
|Place of birth||Cowra, New South Wales|
|International debut||Test: May 22, 2008, vs West Indies|
Brad Haddin was a great wicketkeeper, no doubt. But he was born at the wrong time. During his time, Australia already had Adam Gilchrist, whom you cannot replace. Haddin was a good replacement for the keeper Gilchrist if he needed an occasional break. But Haddin was not of the same caliber as Gilchrist.
Haddin was born in 1977 in New South Wales. He debuted in a test against the West Indies in 2002. He was a decent batsman but not as good as Gilchrist. And so, he would only get to represent Australia when Gilchrist was injured or on vacation.
It was not only Gilchrist with whom Haddin had to compete. Being the best team in the world, Australia always had options. So, there was Matthew Wade, too, to take place behind the wicket.
However, Haddin still played 66 tests and 126 ODIs and subsequently received 262 and 170 catches. Haddid had a batting average of over 30 in both ODI and the tests. It was really a good average for any other team, but not for Australia, especially when they had Gilchrist.
Haddin retired from international cricket in 2015 with little recognition. He was truly underrated as a keeper and as a player. But when you observe his career closely, you cannot but place him among the top 10 best wicketkeepers of all time.
Wicketkeeping Stats of Brad Haddin
9. Brendon McCullum
|Full Name||Brendon Barrie McCullum|
|Date of birth||September 27, 1981|
|Place of birth||Dunedin, New Zealand|
|International debut||March 10, 2004, vs South Africa (Test)|
|Batting||Right-handed aggressive batsman|
You may have remembered the explosive batsman Brendon McCullum. McCullum is often considered one of the deadliest openers of the game. However, his ability and contribution as a wicketkeeper are often overlooked. You can only blame his batting for that.
Brendon McCullum was born in 1981 in Dunedin in New Zealand. He debuted in a test against South Africa in 2004. But before that, he proved his worth in the ODI team after debuting in 2002. In his early career, he could not snatch the spotlight from players like Flemming and Vettori.
But McCullum was superb behind the stump. He was fast, agile, and technically sharp as a keeper. He received 198 catches behind stumps from 101 test matches. But the peak moment of his career came in 2014, towards the end of his career.
During this time, McCullum was a threat to the bowlers. He was an explosive and consistent run scorer. He was one of the key players for New Zealand in the 2015 world cup. During the tournament, he set several records.
In their third match, McCullum scored 77 runs, playing only 25 balls! A strike rate over 300! When he got out in the first over of the final, many thought they lost the cup then and there. With more than 400 catches, McCullum is easily the best Kiwi wicketkeeper of all time.
Wicketkeeping Stats of Brendon McCullum
10. Quinton De-Cock
|Full Name||Quinton de Kock|
|Date of birth||December 17, 1992|
|Place of birth||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|International debut||Jan 19, 2013 vs New Zealand (ODI)
February 20, 2014, vs Australia (test)
|Batting||Left-handed aggressive batsman|
We started the list with the South African legend Mark Boucher and ended it with the current South African keeper Quinton De-Cock. Every once in a while, you get to see players like Quinton De-Cock, who possess surreal talent.
De-Cock was born in 1992 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is only thirty years old and has already achieved many successes. In fact, he showed great potential from the very beginning of his career, both as a keeper and as a batsman.
He has so far played 132 ODI games and scored 17 centuries! He is currently the best wicketkeeper-batsman. As a keeper, he can jump both sides of the stum real quick and stretch himself to take challenging one-handed catches.
De-Cock seems to have a few more years still to play, and surely he is going to climb up the ladder some spots more. But for now, he is our last entrant to the top 10 best wicketkeepers of all time in cricket.
Wicket Keeping Stats of Quinton De-Cock
Wicketkeeping is one of the most challenging jobs in cricket, and for that, you need to have many qualities. You do not get to see great keepers every now and then. The players on the list mastered those qualities and became not only the top 10 best wicketkeepers in cricket history but also became idols for the next generation of keepers.