Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Kiran More has reiterated, having gone through personal experiences of it all in the past, that keeping in English conditions, where the ball swings in the air and seams after pitching, is one of toughest jobs in our sport.
More, more famous for dropping Graham Gooch in the thirties during the 1990 tour and then having to go through the pain of watching England's best batsman score 334, more than his gritty nature as an Indian Cricketer, emphasised why a wicketkeeper’s first tour to England is always difficult.
More, who inflicted 130 dismissals in 49 games for the country and is currently working with the promising youngsters at the National Cricket Academy, was quoted saying, “In England, the ball can dip sharply after it passes the stumps and there is also late movement, when it is about two-three feet away from you. It is like a snake slithering this way and that, A keeper’s first tour to England is always difficult. Even (MS) Dhoni had problems in 2007, I had a few as well in 1986. Luckily I had played league cricket in England before my Test debut. So I was aware of the challenges to an extent.”
“You have to wait for the ball to come to you, and try and take it close to the body, You have to be in the right position, and get behind the line. You cannot collect it on the side. The key is not to move too much in those conditions. Sudden, jerky movements are an absolute no-no. Soft hands are very important. With stiff hands, you will struggle.”
He further talked about the unique nature of conditions of each ground in England and added, “Some grounds in England can really give you a surprise, The Oval (in London) is mostly normal, and Edgbaston (in Birmingham) is not that bad. But Lord's and Leeds are the most problematic grounds for a keeper. Because of the slope at Lord’s, the ball comes in or moves further away (depending on which end the bowling is happening from). Based on that, you have to anticipate and take an extra step either to the right or to the left. Else what happens is the ball can often fly down the leg side or through the slip cordon.”
(Inputs from Mumbai Mirror)