The guard behind the stumps - cricket for india

The 'guard' behind the stumps

One of the immediate pressures on wicket keepers is the limited opportunity he gets. This can be easily understood from the fact that a fourth best batsman in the team plays in "A" team, but a fourth best keeper plays in the "D" team.

Wicket keeping differs from batting and bowling because at the end of the day, a wicket keeper cannot show his worth due to the lack of opportunities

For instance England's Godfrey Evans, who in his time was the leading stumper. He could not take catches to bowling attacks that missed the edges by whiskers.

A good keeper, like good umpires, is often not noticed. It is always the bowlers who are in good position to judge the standard of the keeper. A good keeper is in the position to bring the best out of the bowlers. He can do this by advising and encouraging them, organising the field and assisting the captain.

A keeper must review his performances, identify his weaknesses, and correct the same while out on the field. Points that should be considered are:

Amount of talk and encouragement and
General gloves work.

To become a good keeper, one must observe and work with a good wicket keeper and take frequent advices from the coach and captain. Keepers must concentrate on every ball and should be aware that their errors reflect on whole team's effort.

During a match, bowlers, batsman, as well as the fielders can consult one another. But a wicket keeper is all by himself. At the most, he can consult his captain. He has to therefore to motivate himself to improve his performances. He has to engage in lot of physical activity to sharpen his skills.

Energy and fitness components.

1.  Leg power for quick sprints to the stumps and jumping
     to take the ball.
2.  Agility to move body in all the directions.
3.  Manage squatting with strength in leg musculature.
4.  For taking the ball strength in forearms and hands.
5.  Capacity to maintain sharpness in the field.
6.  Power for high intensity activity and numerous
     short durations.

Body to manage with awkward positions and flexibility.


1.  Shuttle running forward backwards.
2.  Extensions of wrist.
3.  Skipping.
4.  Push-ups.
5.  Vertical jump.
6.  Sit-ups.
7.  Step-ups.


Half-volleys: To establish effective foot-work and focus which is required in the game. For e.g. Right handed batsman missing the ball outside the off stump/leg stump.

1.  Wicket keeper back in semi crouch position
2.  Throw to batsman on bounce;
     make to take catch imagining a particular type of batter.


1.  Shuttle running forward backwards.
2.  Extensions of wrist.
3.  Skipping.
4.  Push-ups.
5.  Vertical jump.
6.  Sit-ups.
7.  Step-ups.


1.  Work leg side/offside (10 each).
2.  Vary distance back.

1.  Take ball in line with inside hip.
2.  Wait on balls of feet.
3.  Gloves low.
4.  Movement strong and well balanced.
5.  Cross over or side stepping.


1.  Ball thrown into cradle.
2.  Keeper moves from crouch to make a catch.


1.  Have one slip next to keeper to develop understanding.
2.  Vary pace/angle of throw.


This exercise is to develop effective sideways movement for quick and slow bowlers, to ensure the hands are cushioning the ball enough and the ball is seen entering the hands, and to enable mental imaginary for tight situations.

1.  Keeper sends player onto wall in semi-crouch position
     with  inners on.
2.  Throw golf ball to rebound of the wall then concrete
     (or vice versa) before catching.
3.  Move sideways along wall and back.


1.  Change angle/height/pace of throw.
2.  Change distance from wall to take diving/reflex catches.
3.  Place sand, stones or stump in bounce zone.
4.  Utilize thrower from behind keeper.

NOTE :  Additional drills on the same will be dealt with in the subsequent article