5 Wicketkeepers of the Modern Era, Who are Gun-Fielders as well

A wicketkeeper is the most important member of a line-up, whose performances have a direct bearing on the result of the game. A costly drop or missed stumping can easily see the batsman making the most of the opportunity and walking away with the game. Earlier wicketkeeping used to be a skill procured during the early days of a cricketing career and later perfected with the help from coaches and mentors to meet the international standards. However, nowadays batsman just seems to learn it while being a part of the national squad, giving themselves an edge over others.

In recent times, we have seen many specialist keepers fielding in the outfield and doing phenomenal jobs for their team in the opportunity provided. The good work done goes a long way in players keeping their place in the team and showing various other facets of their game, hinting at their three-dimensionality. In the below piece, we look at 5 such wicketkeeper ‘s of the current era, who can ditch the gloves and do a commendable job in the outfield if the team needs them to:

1. Sanju Samson

His international career might not have taken the flight that he would have wanted, but Samson has left no stone unturned when it comes to fielding in the outfield.

In his 7 T20I old career playing for India, Samson has pulled off some incredible saves and catches near the boundary line. We recently saw 2 during the T20I fixtures against Australia, where the batsman dived full length to grab an important catch of the incredible Smith at the mid-wicket boundary and then in the third fixture almost pouched one at the long-on boundary.

He was all in the air when he did this and realizing that he was going over, pushed the ball in the field of play. He saved 4 runs for his side and this mind-boggling effort didn’t go unnoticed as cricket experts and fans called it the best fielding effort they had seen in recent times.

Witnessing all this, well-wishers of the nation feel sad for Samson, who finds it difficult to keep his place, owing to inconsistent batting performances. If he can rectify this aspect of his game, there is no-one, who can come closer to challenging him and stopping him from carving an impressive career for himself.

2. Jos Buttler

A terrific gloveman and a swashbuckler with the bat in hand, it would have been very difficult for the England management to take the gloves away from the striker. There is a steep competition between him and Bairstow in the limited-overs format for donning the gloves. In recent times, we have seen the former do the role and pouch some important catches behind the wicket.

If not for the gloves, Buttler does an excellent job in the slip cordon or fielding in the deep. He has got a good throwing arm and sprints towards the ball to prevent the batsmen from scampering for doubles. He is a safe catcher even without the gloves being on and that provides a huge relief to the management, who can play him as a finisher or an aggressive opening batsman.

Fortunately, Buttler plays as a specialist keeper in Test cricket and so far has done a commendable job with respect to grabbing the wobbling-ball or dislodging the bails quickly in case of a possible stumping. This complete commitment as a cricketer has helped Buttler in cementing his place in the England side across formats and making him the vital cog in the current England set-up.

3. Heinrich Klaasen

A genuine wicketkeeper, Klaasen hardly gets to don the role, owing to the presence of the country’s number 1 wicketkeeper-batsman and current skipper, de Kock.

Having burst on the scene with an incredible showing against India in the limited-overs series of 2018, Klaasen has found it tough to maintain his place and play on a consistent basis for the team. The tall South African can destroy the opposition bowling attack on his day and no boundaries are large enough to contain a menacing Klaasen.

His presence, though, affords South Africa some relaxation knowing that he can come in the game as a specialist keeper if the situation demands. By obliging to perform the role that he is doing, Klaasen has prolonged his association with South Africa and reinforced the prospect of finishing at the pinnacle of numerous batting charts.

4. Matthew Wade

Wade belongs to the committed and wholehearted class of players, who can do whatever role assigned for the larger good of the team. Starting as a frontline keeper across all formats, Wade, unfortunately, lost his Wicketkeeper position to Paine in Test cricket and Carey in the limited-overs formats. While the prospect was disheartening and causing enough pain to the batsman, Wade managed to shake off all the rust and toiled hard in the domestic circuit.

It is his consistent performances back there, that assisted him in making a comeback to the national side across all the formats, even if that means as a specialist batsman. Wade was the captain of the side which recently went against India in the T20I series and did an exceptional job both as a keeper and a batsman.

He is very tidy behind the stumps and grabs all the opportunities that come his way. In a recent video which went viral, we saw Wade telling Dhawan that he wasn’t as quick as Dhoni when he missed a stumping chance. If not for the gloves, we have seen Wade standing at the short leg position in Test or even doing the work in the outfield, an aspect which proves his passion and dedication for the game.

5. Kusal Perera

The southpaw from Sri Lanka is known for his aggressive and free-flowing batting at the top of the order, who is very capable of blowing away opposition and turning the match in their favour single-handedly.

Perera, too,  brings the best of both world to his game and ensures that his team reaps the advantage of going into an important fixture. He is pro-active behind the stumps in, and we have seen him diving low or leaping high in the air to grab vital catches.

Given the presence of another specialist wicketkeeper batsman, Dickwella, Perera is forced to field in the outfield and to Sri Lanka’s happiness, does a fantastic job there as well.

Dickwella, unfortunately, hasn’t been among the runs on a consistent basis and thus, we could very well see Perera getting back to doing what he loves best and pulling off breathtaking catches, leaving the world awe-struck.

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