MS Dhoni could well end his career with most stumpings in Test history

MS Dhoni (left) currently stands fifth on the all-time list of wicket-keepers in terms of stumping — with 36 to his name © Getty Images

In the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, MS Dhoni made it to the top five in the history of cricket in terms of stumpings. Abhishek Mukherjee examines Dhoni’s stature in the history of wicket-keepers.

When Sanjay Manjrekar commented that he [MS Dhoni] has the fastest pair of hands, he wasn’t really off-track. Dhoni’s captaincy has been under criticism (despite India’s 4-0 victory, which was also the first time India had won four Tests in a series, and the first time they had whitewashed Australia in a Test series), and despite his series-defining 224, there have been doubts whether he is a Test-quality batsman.
 
People have not really gone gaga over Dhoni’s performance behind the stumps as well. He may not be the flashiest, but there is no doubt whatsoever that he is one of the fastest stumpers the world has ever seen. Consider the dismissal of Matthew Wade in the Delhi Test, for example, that actually got recorded as a catch: Pragyan Ojha tossed one up to Wade, that took his bat, pad, and bobbed up to Dhoni’s right; Dhoni leapt and lunged at the ball, caught it marginally before it reached the ground, and removed the bails in the same fluid motion. It was a wicket-keeper’s dream.
 
So where does Dhoni stand in the history of stumpers? Let us check.
 

All-time stumping counts
 
Dhoni currently stands fifth on the all-time list of wicket-keepers in terms of stumping — with 36 to his name. The clear leaders, Bert Oldfield (52 — and with a staggering rate) and Godfrey Evans (46), are from another era, and Syed Kirmani (38) and Adam Gilchrist (37) — the other two ahead of Dhoni — have played more Tests and kept in more innings than the present Indian wicket-keeper. Dhoni is sure to go past Gilchrist and Kirmani, and given his current rate, he should be able to go past Oldfield in about three years or so.
 

Table 1: Total stumpings    
Player M I C St St/I St/M
Bert Oldfield 54 101 78 52 0.51 0.96
Godfrey Evans 91 175 173 46 0.26 0.51
Syed Kirmani 88 151 160 38 0.25 0.43
Adam Gilchrist 96 191 379 37 0.19 0.39
MS Dhoni 77 143 212 36 0.25 0.47
Prasanna Jayawardene 52 90 97 32 0.36 0.62
Ian Healy 119 224 366 29 0.13 0.24
Wasim Bari 81 146 201 27 0.18 0.33
Romesh Kaluwitharana 49 87 93 26 0.30 0.53
John Blackham 35 62 37 24 0.39 0.69
Wally Grout 51 98 163 24 0.24 0.47
Les Ames 47 87 74 23 0.26 0.49
Mark Boucher 147 281 532 23 0.08 0.16
Kamran Akmal 53 99 184 22 0.22 0.42
Dick Lilley 35 67 70 22 0.33 0.63
Sammy Carter 28 55 44 21 0.38 0.75
James Kelly 36 67 43 20 0.30 0.56
Moin Khan 69 124 128 20 0.16 0.29
Kiran More 49 90 110 20 0.22 0.41
Kumar Sangakkara 117 214 169 20 0.09 0.17

 

All-time stumpings per innings counts
 
In terms of stumpings per innings counts, Dhoni stands 10th on the all-time list of wicket-keepers with 20 or more victims. The only recent names ahead of him, Prasanna Jayawardene and Romesh Kaluwitharana, have had the advantage of keeping wickets to Muttiah Muralitharan and the phalanx of Sri Lankan spinners over the ages, which is probably the reason that Kumar Sangakkara also features on the list.
 

Table 2: Stumpings per innings;
cut-off, 20 stumpings
Player M I C S S/I S/M
Bert Oldfield 54 101 78 52 0.51 0.96
John Blackham 35 62 37 24 0.39 0.69
Sammy Carter 28 55 44 21 0.38 0.75
Prasanna Jayawardene 52 90 97 32 0.36 0.62
Dick Lilley 35 67 70 22 0.33 0.63
Romesh Kaluwitharana 49 87 93 26 0.30 0.53
James Kelly 36 67 43 20 0.30 0.56
Les Ames 47 87 74 23 0.26 0.49
Godfrey Evans 91 175 173 46 0.26 0.51
MS Dhoni 77 143 212 36 0.25 0.47
Syed Kirmani 88 151 160 38 0.25 0.43
Wally Grout 51 98 163 24 0.24 0.47
Kamran Akmal 53 99 184 22 0.22 0.42
Kiran More 49 90 110 20 0.22 0.41
Adam Gilchrist 96 191 379 37 0.19 0.39
Wasim Bari 81 146 201 27 0.18 0.33
Moin Khan 69 124 128 20 0.16 0.29
Ian Healy 119 224 366 29 0.13 0.24
Kumar Sangakkara 117 214 169 20 0.09 0.17
Mark Boucher 147 281 532 23 0.08 0.16

 

Current stumping counts
 
Of the current crop, Jayawardene is the only one who comes anywhere close to Dhoni, and after the advent of Dinesh Chandimal, it is probably evident that Sri Lanka would not want to persist with him in the long run. The next two, well behind Dhoni, are Kamran Akmal, who is not a regular in the side anymore, and Sangakkara, who doesn’t keep wickets. Matt Prior, the highest among the current regular wicket-keepers, is on 13 stumpings currently.
 

Table 3: Total stumpings, current ‘keepers
MS Dhoni 77 143 212 36 0.25 0.47
Prasanna Jayawardene 52 90 97 32 0.36 0.62
Kamran Akmal 53 99 184 22 0.22 0.42
Kumar Sangakkara 117 214 169 20 0.09 0.17
Matt Prior 65 118 183 13 0.11 0.20
Brendon McCullum 75 135 175 11 0.08 0.15
Mushfiqur Rahim 32 55 51 9 0.16 0.28
Adnan Akmal 16 32 47 8 0.25 0.50
Parthiv Patel 20 37 41 8 0.22 0.40
Brad Haddin 44 84 164 5 0.06 0.11

 
All in all, though he has mysteriously criticised by a lot of ‘cricket fans’ despite his excellent leadership and batting in the recently concluded series, I guess there should not be any doubt that he will probably emerge as the leading stumper of all time.
 
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ovshake and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)