Legendary Indian wicket-keeper –Syed Kirmani, who was naturally athletic behind the stumps in his playing days, believes the idea of having a specialist wicket-keeper in the side "doesn't exist" anymore in the modern-day cricket, saying "today, a ’keeper is picked more for his batting ability than work with the gloves".
According to a report in TNN, Kirmani said on the sidelines of a Rotary Club event in Chennai, “The idea of a specialist wicketkeeper is gone. Teams want a batsman who can keep wickets also so that they can add another player to the team as an all-rounder.”
Although, the 68-year-old admitted that a keeper definitely lends more balance to the side but it has its own disadvantages when the gloveman's mistakes prove costly for his side in crucial games. Kirmani, who played for India from 1971–1986, further added, “It is all part and parcel of the game. If there is a costly miss, then it has to be compensated with the bat. Let's face it, teams don't consider a specialist wicketkeeper anymore and it has happened across the world.”
Commenting on current wicket-keepers in the country, Kirmani stated, “Saha, Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Naman Ojha, Rishabh Pant are all promising keepers. They are all equally competent. They are all in the process of becoming good. They are already in the Indian scheme of things but they cannot be the best at the moment. They have to be better to be the best. Whoever shows consistency and delivers, will be there in all the three formats.”
He also lauded Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was awarded ‘Icon of Chennai’, saying he is the pride of Tamil Nadu and the country, and a role model for the youngsters.
Kirmani signed off by saying, “I have no words to express the achievements which Ravichandran Ashwin has done. My heartiest congratulations to the would-be legend in the making. Ashwin is the pride of Tamil Nadu and the country. He is a great role model to the youngsters of today, the millennials of today. He is such a gentleman cricketer, among all the other gentleman cricketers, he excels. I deem it an honor to honor Ashwin.”