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Top five wicketkeeper-batsmen to play in the 21st century

Here are players who coped up with the pace of the 21st century and set a new standard of wicketkeeping.

Aditya Kumar | New Delhi |

Wicketkeeping has always been one of the less talked yet a vital part of the game of cricket. Good wicketkeeping is a thing less acknowledged but is desperately missed when absent.

Here are players who coped up with the pace of the 21st century and set a new standard of wicketkeeping.

Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka (2000-2015):

The current MCC President and former Sri Lanka player Kumar Sangakkara is regarded as one of the greats who have played the game.

He is the wicketkeeper with the most number of dismissals (482) in ODIs, out of which 99 have come from stumping.

Apart from his safe pair of hands behind the stumps, the southpaw was the premier batsman of the Sri Lankan team irrespective of the formats.

In 404 ODIs, Sangakkara piled up 14,234 runs at an average of 41.98. Talking about his performance in the longest format of the game, the southpaw scored 12,400 runs in 134 matches at an average of 57.40.

MS Dhoni, India (since 2004):

Arguably the best finisher the world has ever seen, MS Dhoni is an inspiration to many young wicketkeeper-batsmen. His tactical acumen along with his lightning-fast hands makes him one of the finest men behind the stumps.

The player, who started his career as a top-order batsman, sacrificed his place for the team’s need and started batting at middle and lower-order. With time, Dhoni not only evolved as a mature batsman but also became the spine of the Indian batting line-up.

After leading India to the inaugural edition of T20 World Cup, the legend helped India to win 2011 ODI World Cup. Dhoni smashed 91 not out off 79 in the night of the final against Sri Lanka at Wankhede to see India lift the title after 28 years.

Although Dhoni has not worn the Indian colours since their exit from the ODI World Cup semifinals in 2019, the fans are still expecting a last innings from the finisher.

Adam Gilchrist, Australia (1996-2008)

The southpaw holds the world record for the highest dismissal by an Australian in One Day Internationals as well as in the longest format of the game. Overall, he is runner-up in both the formats, being behind Kumar Sangakkara in ODIs and Mark Boucher in Tests.

In 2007 ODI World Cup, Gilchrist spoiled Sri Lanka’s dream of winning a second trophy and helped Australia to their third consecutive and fourth title with a valiant 149 off just 104 balls in the final.

Mark Boucher, South Africa (1997-2012):

Boucher, who is regarded as one of the best in the business, holds the record for the most number of dismissals as a wicket-keeper in international cricket. The right-hander dismissed 998 at the highest level and would have touched the four-figure mark with ease, had not a freak eye-injury forced him to call time on his illustrious career.

Boucher got hit in the eye by a bail in a warm-up game in England in 2012 and could not find his way back to the ground.

With the bat, Boucher piled up more than 10,000 runs across all formats for the Proteas.

Brendon McCullum, New Zealand (2002-2016):

World-famous for his daunting attack, former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum used to tear apart everything coming his way.

McCullum with his unorthodox style of batting and great athleticism behind the stumps changed the way wicketkeepers were perceived in the modern game. He was one of the most agile men behind the stumps and for him taking blinders was a routine task.

He claimed 179 dismissals in Tests and 242 in ODIs while stationed behind the stumps. The Kiwi even led his side to the final of the 2015 World Cup where they lost to their Trans-Tasman rivals, Australia.