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The Ongoing Debate: Indian Wicketkeeper Dilemma

Indian Wicketkeeper Dilemma Blog

So, who is the most outstanding Indian wicketkeeper of all time? It’s a debate with many cricket lovers at loggerheads with each other, sometimes threatening to rage on to eternity. See, cricket is very, very popular in India. In fact, so beloved the sport is that many consider it a religion there. Visit any street in India today, and you’ll find little boys using whatever silly objects they can gather to simulate a cricket field and enjoying the game.

Love of cricket is instilled in children from an early age, and established Indian cricket players are pretty much gods on this beautiful, super-populated subcontinent. The high population has served the sport well because it has ensured that the Indian national team has an embarrassment of riches to choose from in selecting the most pristine cricket talents to join its ranks. The excellence of cricket in India has ensured the sport has a massive following worldwide, with the IPL (Indian Premier League) amassing a global viewership of 462 million viewers in 2023. Very few sporting events come anywhere close, and the superstar appeal of top Indian players has only catapulted the sport higher.

Speaking of players, who is the most outstanding Indian wicketkeeper ever? This question is complex because people may use other metrics to nominate their GOAT. However, there’s no chance you’d go wrong with the three-person list we have compiled, culminating in the man we believe to be the top keeper in the whole world.

#3: Nayan Mongia

At the peak of his powers, Nayan Mongia was hands down the world’s top wicketkeeper. Cheerful and modest by nature but a true beast on the field, Mongia took his first tour to England in 1990. During that tour, he caught the world’s attention and the eye of Alan Knott, a cricket legend widely regarded as the best wicketkeeper ever. Knott described Mongia as a player of immense ‘natural talent.’ This high praise was never unfounded as Mongia, after making his India national team debut in the mid-90s, established himself as the first pick at wicketkeeper throughout his international career. By his retirement in 2004, this Right-hand bat had scored over 7000 runs and made 353 catches and 43 stumpings in 183 1st class matches.

#2: Syed Kirmani

The second best on our list is Syed Kirmani, a man who is fabled not to have allowed a single slip to get past him in three consecutive test matches. Before the arrival of MS Dhoni, who holds the prestigious #1 spot on our list below, most Indian national cricket team records belonged to Kirmani. India’s best wicketkeeper for a long time, Kirmani, was an integral part of the 1983 team that won the Cricket World Cup, where he also proved to be a competent batsman, scoring two test centuries.

#1: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

The top spot indisputably belongs to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, fondly (or sometimes indignantly) known as MS Dhoni. Forget about the Indian scene for a moment: there’s a solid case that MS Dhoni is historically the world’s finest wicketkeeper. That such a claim could be a testament to his skill and incredible longevity – at the time of writing, Dhoni is still going strong at the golden age of 41. It’s almost like Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer: Dhoni has suggested he’s on the verge of retirement year after year, but he seemingly might never retire! While his disgruntled detractors keep waiting – almost to the point of sheer frustration – for him to lay down his gloves, Dhoni keeps piling on the records. Those listed below might take more than a decade for the next Indian player to get anywhere near:

  • The most ODI dismissals by an Indian wicketkeeper with 444.
  • The most ODI catches by an Indian wicketkeeper with 321. No other wicketkeeper has crossed the 200 catches mark.
  • The most Test cricket dismissals by an Indian wicketkeeper with 294.
  • The most Test cricket catches by an Indian wicketkeeper with 256. No one else has more than 200.
  • The most test runs by an Indian wicketkeeper with 4000.