Syed Kirmani praises the wicket-keepers of India © Getty Images
Syed Kirmani praises the wicket-keepers of India © Getty Images

Former India wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani has always been candid in his views. The recipient of the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award this year spoke to Times of India on various issues on the sidelines of the Vijay Hazare Trophy final. The Cricket Centre, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – Mumbai, unanimously nominated Syed Kirmani for the Col. CK Nayudu Committee Lifetime Achievement Award 2015. The committee consists of BCCI President Mr. Shashank Manohar, Hon. Secretary Mr. Anurag Thakur and Mr. N Ram, Editor- The Hindu. The BCCI celebrates the birth centenary of Col. Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu, the country’s first Test captain, by nominating individuals for their unparalleled contribution to India cricket, on and off field by giving away the annual Lifetime Achievement Award. ALSO READ: Syed Kirmani to reveal discrimination faced by him in autobiography

When asked about his name being nominated for the Award he said, It’s a huge honour and I am really grateful to the BCCI for recognizing my services. When I was selected among the reserves in the Indian team, Farokh Engineer was my senior. He was the No. 1 wicket-keeper but I performed consistently in the County and side games and the selectors showed faith in my abilities. That’s how I made my India debut and never looked back for 10 years.”

He emphasized the importance of wicket-keeper in cricket saying, “Wicket-keepers are indispensable in the game of cricket. He is the best guide to his captain, bowlers, fielders and he can find out the weaknesses of a batsman more easily. They say a wicket-keeper has to be born, which means he has to be born with reflexes, gifted ability of vision and he should be an athlete. Otherwise you cannot effect a stumping or take a tough catch. So I would say the basics have remained the same over the years.” ALSO READ: India vs Pakistan: BCCI must respect government’s decision on proposed bilateral series, feels Syed Kirmani

He feels that quality of wicket-keepers has fallen off because of the rise in keeping batsman, ” The technique is not there at all because the game has become result oriented now. But I have no complaints. A few years ago MS Dhoni was criticized for his wicket-keeping and batting However, I felt that when he is delivering the results, these hings are secondary . He has been performing consistent y and no one would remember 10 years later that Dhoni didn’t have a copybook technique. People would look a he results. You cannot keep harping on the copybook techniques, which are not being followed at the moment. You need to evolve with the game.”

Kirmani was all praises for the arising wicket-keeper of India Wriddhiman Saha but felt he requires attention as there are many wicket-keepers who have shown talent like Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik, “Saha showed great technique in the South Africa series where the ball was turning square. He was coming in line to collect the ball beautifully on the legside. His movement behind the stump was fantastic. He is in the process of becoming good, better and best. It took me 15 years to become the world’s best. So you need to give Saha the time to mature. But he needs to perform consistently because Ojha, Patel and Karthik will give him tough competition. There is not much difference between these four.” ALSO READ: Syed Kirmani nominated for Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award 2015

Kirmani also believes that keeping has helped Dhoni to turn into a better captain for India, “No doubt, it helped him. In my time, the selectors could have never appointed a wicket-keeper as a captain because they lacked vision. They thought captaincy would be a burden for the keeper. But I am happy that Dhoni proved this line of thought wrong. His appointment as a captain was the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket. He was the best judge of the game and he did a great job as a captain in all aspects of the term.”