Syed Kirmani is one of the most skillful wicketkeeper’s that India has ever produced. Kirmani was a specialist wicketkeeper, who used to be judged on the basis of his exploits behind the wickets while batting used to be an added bonus.
Since Kirmani’s retirement and the emergence of the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Andy Flower, Kumar Sangakkara, MS Dhoni, the role of a wicketkeeper has been completely revolutionized.
Wicketkeepers are now expected to play a crucial role with the bat and while that is a good development, the importance of a specialist pure wicketkeeper has been compromised with teams picking a keeper on the basis of his batting skills.
India has been currently employing the services of a makeshift wicketkeeper in KL Rahul in place of Rishabh Pant or Sanju Samson and Syed Kirmani isn’t particularly sure about the move.
“Do the knowledgeable know that a wicketkeeper has to be born? When I say born, he or she has to be gifted with “good vision, supported with athletic agility, reflexes, sense of anticipation,” Syed Kirmani told Hindustan Times.
He added: “I am not sure if KL Rahul possesses this gifted ability, I have only seen this lad batting all by himself on a bowling machine at the NCA, before representing Karnataka. When he started keeping wickets, I don’t know. All the Best to him.”
Rishabh Pant needs to be groomed properly: Syed Kirmani
India has been grappling with the issue of a wicketkeeper-batsman in the past year or so. In the last 12-14 months and especially after MS Dhoni’s last match, Rishabh Pant was groomed for the role.
But the 21-year-old could not capitalize on his opportunities and after a string of consistent failures, was ousted from the playing XI during the end of the season.
Kirmani accepts that Pant did not capitalize on his chances but he reckons that the youngster should be properly groomed and polished in order to enable him to realise his talent on the International level and cement a permanent place in the team.
“Yes, he did not capitalise on the chances provided to him. Wicketkeeping is the most thankless and difficult job in cricket and I believe Pant has to be properly groomed. I agree that talent has to be encouraged, but mind you, in every profession, talented and promising youngsters have to be under the study of experienced seniors. Otherwise a lot of water will go under the bridge by the time the youngster comes up to the expectations,” Syed Kirmani said.
“Pant is immensely skilled. That skill will bloom and flourish with experience, it cannot be overnight. It will take a minimum of two seasons if one is a quick learner.” he added.