The past 20 years have seen a whirlwind change in how the world of cricket perceives a wicket-keeper. And, one person who is single-handedly responsible for bringing about a revolution in how a wicket-keeper is seen and judged in modern-day cricket is Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist was a once in a generation cricketer. He was an outstanding wicket-keeper but at the same time, it is his swashbuckling batting that captured the imagination of the cricket world. Since then, wicket-keepers from around the world are judged not only by the way they keep wickets but also by the manner in which they bat.
So, is the role of a specialist wicket-keeper redundant in modern-day cricket? Can he no longer warrant a place in the side purely on his keeping skills? Former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu feels so. Taibu, who was himself a brilliant batsman along with his precocious keeping skills reckons that the game has become professional now and one can get warrant a place in the side purely on the basis of one facet.
“I don’t think there is a position for a specialist wicket-keeper in modern-day cricket. A wicket-keeper has got to bat too because the game is now professional and you to be proficient in more than one department” Tatenda Taibu said in an exclusive chat with Cricket Addictor.
Tatenda Taibu heaps high praise on ‘classic’ Wriddhiman Saha
When asked about his favorite wicket-keeper of the modern era, Taibu was all praise for his former Kolkata Knight Riders teammate and Indian Test keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Hailing Saha as a “classic keeper”, Taibu said that purely on the basis of glovework, Saha is the best whether it is against pace or spin.
“Wriddhiman Saha. I am a little bit bias about him because he was my teammate at Kolkata Knight Riders (laughs). He is a very very classic keeper. I am purely talking about glovework. He is an all-round keeper for me; you bring pace and spin, he keeps equally well against both,”. Tatenda Taibu said during an exclusive chat with Cricket Addictor.
He also named Australian Test captain Tim Paine as one of his favorites of the current era.
“Another keeper that I can keep in the same bracket as Australian Test captain Tim Paine,” Taibu added.
Saha has been hailed as one of the best wicketkeepers India has ever produced by a plethora of his teammates as well as former cricketers and so when he was benched in the recent Test series against New Zealand, everyone was taken aback.