Third Test, Perth December 17, 2006

More on Adam & Rudi

For the record, I think Alan Knott is the greatest wicketkeeper batsman in history

Some commenters this morning have responded with doubt and asperity to my remark that Adam Gilchrist 'may not be the greatest wicketkeeper batsman in history'. It was mainly a rhetorical construction, but it brought us back to the never ending debate about how well a keeper should be expected to bat: it's no longer, I agree, a question of whether a keeper should be able to bat at all. The answer, I think, will always depend on the team: an XI with two spinners and a solid all-rounder at number seven, for instance, will place a greater accent on glovework than an XI with four fast bowlers and no all-rounder.

For the record, I think Alan Knott is the greatest wicketkeeper batsman in history. I do, however, think that Gilchrist is the greatest batsman wicketkeeper, and that it's a shame he never had the opportunity to bat at number six for an extended period. I am also persuaded that, at his best, Don Tallon was the greatest keeper - Sir Donald Bradman is not a bad advocate to have in your corner. Who you picked would depend on your team. Any other candidates?

As for the Strauss lbw, I don't think it's material to say that it 'looked out' on TV. The effect of the elevated view of the TV cameras, which inevitably distorts height, is most pronounced where lbw is concerned. It is a truth universally acknowledged that this Perth pitch is a bouncy one: any umpire, therefore, should have at the back of his mind that balls short of a length, unless they very obviously stay down, will tend to pass over the stumps more often than not. Aleem Dar did, quite rightly, when he gave Hayden not out yesterday on 65 (he gave a poor decision against Katich at Trent Bridge last year, which may have made him more circumspect). Koertzen did not (if he thinks about much, he hides it well). And this was not even close: the ball hit above the knee roll, and was shown to be passing over the stumps by a foot and a half. To be fair, it can sometimes be difficult to pick up the height of an impact on a white-clad batsman. My own view is that umpires should more often consult with their square leg colleagues, generally better placed to give altitude guidance. But that may be easier said than done. I'd welcome comments from umpire readers.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer