Wicket Keeper is the most familiar terminology in cricketing books. By all means this is the most critical fielding position on the cricket ground. The level of concentration that this position demands is relentless and uncompromising. But even after all the arduous work that wicket keepers put in, still they get criticized for the occasional that lapses they do. But there have been greats who have withstood all the pressure and have registered their names in the glory books not because of their explosive batting or fearsome bowling but rather because of their safe hands behind the stumps and acrobatic profile to manage all the deadly assaults behind the stumps.
1. Adam Gilchrist
Modern day cricket owes a lot to Adam Gilchrist from New South Wales. He was the man who changed the concept of wicket keepers. Any wicket keeper who could not bat was simply not acceptable in international cricket after this man mesmerized the world with his explosive opening batting in one day cricket. He would take the bowlers to the cleaners on any given day. He was safe as a house behind the stumps. Be it diving, catching or stumping, this man was the master. He has 416 dismissals in test and 472 in one day internationals. The reason Australian were invincible in 2000’s had a lot to do with Adam Gilchrist as he always gave them good starts at the top and always took the half chances behind the stumps.
2. Kumar Sangakara
The elegant left hander batsman from Sri Lanka had his wicket keeping over shadowed by his batting genius. He is more known as someone who has just batted and batted for ages and have driven every bowler in the world. But very few people know that he is the most successful wicket keeper in one day international cricket with a total of 482 dismissals. Even though long height is not desirable for a wicket keeper as they had to crouch a lot but Sangakara never let this weakness came in his way and rather turned this into a strength as he could cover an extra yard with his dive to take catches.
3. MS Dhoni
Arguably the greatest Indian captain of all time with all the major trophies in his bag happens to be the greatest Indian wicket keeper as well. Leading the team while being a wicket keeper makes the job doubly difficult but MS Dhoni never lost his cool. His ability to stay calm in the most roughest of situations has enabled him to perform exceptionally well as a keeper. He has been the man in gloves for India since 2004 and till now he has 350 scalps in ODI cricket, 89 of which are stumping.
4. Brendon McCullum
If there ever have been a closest person to Adam Gilchrist then its Brendon McCullum because of the nature of his batting. He can absolutely hammer the bowlers on an given day. And his keeping is similar in nature to his batting. He is an absolute entertainer both with the bat and with the gloves. He is capable of holding on to spectacular catches and is equally good in hitting the stumps directly.
5. Rodney Marsh
The big mustached man from Australia who kept behind the stumps in 70s and early 80s will be remembered as a phenomena in wicket keeping. He is by far the most respected and admired wicket keeper in cricket fraternity owing to his record of 355 dismissal in 96 test matches in career that spanned almost fourteen years. His dismissals per innings index is as high as 1.95 and it is something which many modern keepers have struggled to compete with.
6. Alec Stewart
Surrey county gave birth to this English icon. Alec Stewart is not just the longest serving wicket keeper for England but is also the most capped test player for England as he featured in 133 games for England. His record of 241 dismissals in test cricket speaks volumes about his credentials and abilities as a wicket keeper. He had this aura with him which made him the captain of his national side. Even though the gloves were occasionally switched between him and Jack Russell but Stewart was unanimously the accepted and competent English keeper and his statistics backed up this claim.
7. Ian Healy
1990s was the era of resurgence of Australians in the world cricket and Ian Healy was the spine of that side. Kids and youngsters now days listen his crispy voice quite often in commentary box. Prior to Adam Gilchrist he was in charge of behind the stumps activities for Australia. He began his career in 1988 and had a modest start but he raised his stature in the Australian cricket in 90s. He was an extremely enthusiastic bloke who gave his hundred percent in training sessions, team meetings and most importantly on the field. He was a lively character who would always kept his side going when the chips were down. He skills as a keeper were evident on the field and his stats are also in conformity with this abilities as he has 395 dismissals in test cricket and 233 in one day internationals under his belt.
8. Mark Boucher
South Africa is the best fielding side in the world and the best fielding side needs the best keeper in its ranks. And Mark Boucher fulfilled that requirement brilliantly. He was the strongest competitor in the side with great fighting spirit. After starting his test career in 1997, he had to work his way up the ranks but he was determined and focused. His acrobatic prowess and agility helped him do wonders behind the stumps. His legacy can be estimated from the fact that he holds the record for the highest number of scalps in test cricket which amount to 555.
9. Rashid Latif
Pakistan has never been a good fielding side and quite often we have seen their fielders dropping sitters and the wicket keepers are no exception to that. But if there has ever been an exception then its Rashid Latif. Unlike traditional Pakistani fielding, he is someone you can rely. He was swift in moving, a natural athlete and safe catcher. He was very smart at gathering the ball and dislodging the stumps. His tally consists of 220 one day dismissals.
10. Brad Haddin
He also happens to be from the same state as that of Adam Gilchrist. He is the 4th man in this list from Australia which sums up the ruthless nature of Aussies. They know how to produce the best in world. Even though Haddin made his ODI debut in 2001 but he established himself as a key member of the team after taking over reins from Adam Gilchrist in 2008 and was equally dynamic behind the stumps in his movement, judging the line and length of the ball and more importantly catching the ball.