'More' on glovesmen in English conditions

Former India wicket-keeper Kiran More says that swing can throw difficult challenges to the wicketkeeper, the ball being difficult to follow.

As a wicketkeeper, you have to be adept at staying behind for the pacers or standing up to the spinners, believes former India wicket-keeper Kiran More   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Six Tests in England gave Kiran More ample wicket-keeping lessons. He was part of the 1986 team which defeated England 2-0 and then four years later he joined the team in tasting defeat when most critics expected India to win.

Wicketkeeping, like goalkeeping, is a thankless job. “Not always. It is understandable if the general public doesn’t appreciate the nuances of your job but the team is always there to acknowledge the critical part that a wicketkeeper performs. I have seen wicketkeepers grieve in silence, I have experienced such depressing moments, but you learn to accept that lapses are part of the job,” said More.

Umpires make errors. Bowlers and batsmen fumble. Fielders too commit blunders. Why is it that the wicketkeeper often attracts criticism? “True. I would have taken five exceptional catches but the one I grass is the one that stands out sorely. But believe me the team-mates stand by you because they can make the distinction between a catch dropped from a half-chance attempted,” the former India glovesman told Sportstar. More played 49 Tests for India.

England tests the skills of a wicketkeeper, observed More. “As it is swing can throw challenges. The ball swings and takes the edge and creates a difficult path to follow. There have been occasions when the ball has swung after passing the stumps. It is a tormenting experience because the swing is prodigious. All part of the game and I found it exciting because it keeps you on your toes.”

The gloomy conditions of Leeds or the spin-friendly surfaces of Chepauk where the ball would turn are equally daunting in More’s opinion. “As a wicketkeeper, you have to be adept at staying behind for the seam and fast bowlers or standing up to the spinners. Both offer varying thrill. It is thrilling when you contribute to a wicket, catch or a stumping or even a run out. A wicketkeeper is under constant scrutiny and I am proud to say that we have always had some of the most outstanding wicketkeepers.”

Dinesh Karthik will strive to step into the slot created by Wriddhiman Saha’s absence. The injury to Saha was a setback but More was confident Karthik would be an adequate replacement. “My worry is not the wicketkeeper’s slot but the blow to the bowling attack where Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah have been ruled out of the first Test. The first match of a series is always important and I am expecting the likes of Hardik (Pandya) and Ishant (Sharma) to grab the chance.”