Third Test, Perth December 17, 2006

More on Adam & Rudi

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gerard Gleeson on January 4, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    How many curent BATSMEN in test cricket have more test hundreds than Adam Gilchrist???

    One West Indian A couple of Indians One New Zealander One South African NO ENGLISHMEN

    Among his contemporaries he is one of the best batsmen in world cricket. Add this to his impeccable keeping record, and how can you argue against him.

    After he has retired, I sincerely hope his greatness will be realised. If Richie Benaud believes in him, that's good enough for me

  • AL on December 21, 2006, 5:31 GMT

    Gilchrist by a mile. Why is Viv Richards often picked in the team of the century over other batsmen with higher averages? Because he, like Gilly, completely dominated the best that anyone could throw at him. They are match winners. There have been certain players over the years who - on their day - have had the measure of any bowling attack. How many one dayers has Gilchrist won for Australia? You know that if Gilly is still there half way through the match that the other team is most likely screwed. Gilchrist is a match winning captain. Is very quick and smart in the field. He has kept to one of the fastest bowlers ever. Has kept to two of the best leg spinners ever. Has maintained his averages/strike rate against all teams over a long period of time. Will soon be the highest wicket taking keeper of all time - with (as mentioned earlier) better day to day stats than Healy. Is a selfless batsman and (as mentioned earlier) could have a much higher batting average had he protected it. Would be a starter in any all-time one day team on batting alone. Is a great sportsman and an articulate role model. Is simply the one of the most exciting players of all time. Ask - who would you rather watch bat? Thanks Morgan for doing some proper research: "As for Don Bradman naming Tallon the greatest... he notes in his book 'Bradman's Best Ashes Teams' that if Gilchrist was to keep up a high average (it was written around 2000) he would go past Tallon as the man he would choose in his team." - I think Gilchrist has achieved that now. Richie Benaud picks Gilchrist - good enough for me. Ok - I didn't start out to hack another bloke's blog (Pinstripe)- but I just had to! "I find only 6 of gilchrist's 17 centuries being scored in a scenario when he came in at less than 200" OK 17!!!! ONLY 6!!!! For a start 6 is more than a handy third - not to mention all the quick fire half centuries or even 30's and 40's that Gilly has contributed to boost Australia's chances. Rod Marsh was always considered a good batsman for a keeper and he only scored 3 centuries in his entire career. 17! 6! Come on. Boony is an all-time legend and at no. 3 he had 21 tons against his name. You can bet Gilly will be well over that mark in the coming years. On keeping skills: Quite simply the guy takes catches. He stumps guys in a flash. I don't care if he's diving or standing on his head - he takes what should be taken and doesn't miss much. I know that we all think back on the keepers of our youth with fondness. Rod Marsh was mine. Incredible athletics, speed, and silky skills. Quantifying keeping skills of keepers from different eras is almost impossible - fun to try but hard. No-one really knows how Ponting and Bradman would have gone if they swapped places. Pretty well I reckon, but no way to tell what their stats would have been. Gilly has the stats against his name and he doesn't drop much. That'll do I reckon. I'm sure there are have been keepers with slightly better skills - but not by far. Gilchrist performs with the bat and with the gloves. Kumar Sangakarra is quite entitled to be considered up there, but it's a bit early for that. I'm sure The Don would pick him too if he keeps performing over the years. Would anyone REALLY leave Gilchrist out of a champion team if they were picking it???? By the way to the guy that is annoyed by the way Gilly whips off the bails with any half-chance stumping - better that than a fumbled Jones effort. And if it pisses you off imagine how the batsmen feel.

  • Umair on December 20, 2006, 19:32 GMT

    Thank you Stuart, for that unnecessary jibe against Pakistan. Good to see you Aussies helpless on the Hair sacking!

  • Pinstripe on December 20, 2006, 19:00 GMT

    Sorry to come in again, and this time I won't give stats to anyone. "he doesn't have the same presence on the field, the bravado, or the mental edge over the world's best batsmen"????? Doesn't have the same presence? Really? And what is bravado? Mouthing off to batsmen? Or bowling 40 overs in a day in baked, dead conditions to get something like 8/180 every test match, and having to carry a pedestrian bowling attack on one's shoulders for well over a decade? And mental edge? Who are, pray, the world's greatest modern batsmen? Ian Bell? Daryll Cullinan? or Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara? We all know what happened to Warne in India, don't we? And publicity? Popularity? A whole country's cricketing revolution could be represented by Murali. And in the subcontinent (which happens to make cricket the marketing phenomenon that it is), Murali is as much if not more popular (indeed, more, on the sheer dint of performance) than Warne. Will make it simpler. Look, I am Indian. And cricketing rivalries are a big thing in the sub-continent. And yet here I am writing tomes and tomes for Murali, who plays for, indeed, a rival nation.

  • shane on December 20, 2006, 13:41 GMT

    Hi All

    Gilly is by far the most match winning of all keepers ever. He may not be the best keeper, however he drops very few catches and has taken a number of spectacular ones.

    He could have been at the heights of his powers picked as a batsman alone and very few of the keepers could do that. He bats at 7 for team balance. He could quite easily have batted as high as 4 if he wasn't a keeper. Remember the unbelievable innings he played to rescue Oz in Sri Lanka at no.3 against Murali and Co.

    I believe he could have made more runs batting higher because his liking to the new ball rather than the old. Tends to play too early and get caught when the ball is not coming on to the bat.

    I for one will be sad when he retires because he is my favourite cricketer of all time and is totally unselfish and plays for the team at all times.

  • Michael from Brisbane on December 20, 2006, 10:22 GMT

    The Serf Gilly is right handed. He bats left handed. He writes, throws, plays golf etc right handed

  • Stuart on December 20, 2006, 10:08 GMT

    Firstly, one might comment that, regarding Strauss, this is perhaps the third or fourth time this series which he has been unfairly dismissed by a bad decision. It is poosible that Koertzen simply made a bad decision, but this has to be accepted, in England we could expect appeals to succeed far more easily, cast your minds back to Edgbaston, and the same exists in Australia. Unless people want to follow Pakistan and ask for his resignation over this, it simply has to be accepted, although maybe suggested that Koertzen should re-examine appeals against Strauss in future. On the subject of Gilchrist it is simple. Regardless of any other factors, Gilchrist is simply one of a kind; his ton the other day was breathtaking and a representation that, whatever else he is, there is no-one like him to go out and attack. Only one thing is sure, and that is that we'll miss himk when he's gone.

  • Manish on December 20, 2006, 9:27 GMT

    It is Syed Kirmani ......Dujon comes a close second

  • marcus on December 20, 2006, 8:04 GMT

    Khurram, Flower's only played 4 games against Bangladesh and 2 against West Indies. Gilchrist has played 4 against Bangladesh, 12 against West Indies and 2 against Zimbabwe.

  • Khurram on December 20, 2006, 5:50 GMT

    another reason why Andy has higher average than gilchrist in tests is because he is no where near the strike rate with which Glily scores.... if he had done that then his average wud hav been around 30s... its just unbelievable someone who destructs every other ball have an average of 49 in tests...and ODI average is also so high even when he's an opener... thats just amazing... dunno why he's so under rated as a batsman...but in the history of the game of cricket few individuals have scored with that pace and still maintained such a high career average amazing...

    also comparing Andy with Gilly is unfair to Gilchrist as dont forget Zimbabwae play a hell of a lot matches against bangladesh and west indies and other weak teams as they give them 5 tests series and many times in an year...while australia or england at best give zimbabwae 2-3 tests and that too after a long period.... while Australia play with the best of the lot more... I guess only India is the team among the top teams who play frequently with Zimbabwe (just to improve their ‘star’ batsmen average and win at least something in tests) …if u see Andy flower's record he scored an awful lot of runs against lesser bowling attacks including India while Gilly has been consistent against the best and has a better average against better bowling attacks….

  • Gerard Gleeson on January 4, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    How many curent BATSMEN in test cricket have more test hundreds than Adam Gilchrist???

    One West Indian A couple of Indians One New Zealander One South African NO ENGLISHMEN

    Among his contemporaries he is one of the best batsmen in world cricket. Add this to his impeccable keeping record, and how can you argue against him.

    After he has retired, I sincerely hope his greatness will be realised. If Richie Benaud believes in him, that's good enough for me

  • AL on December 21, 2006, 5:31 GMT

    Gilchrist by a mile. Why is Viv Richards often picked in the team of the century over other batsmen with higher averages? Because he, like Gilly, completely dominated the best that anyone could throw at him. They are match winners. There have been certain players over the years who - on their day - have had the measure of any bowling attack. How many one dayers has Gilchrist won for Australia? You know that if Gilly is still there half way through the match that the other team is most likely screwed. Gilchrist is a match winning captain. Is very quick and smart in the field. He has kept to one of the fastest bowlers ever. Has kept to two of the best leg spinners ever. Has maintained his averages/strike rate against all teams over a long period of time. Will soon be the highest wicket taking keeper of all time - with (as mentioned earlier) better day to day stats than Healy. Is a selfless batsman and (as mentioned earlier) could have a much higher batting average had he protected it. Would be a starter in any all-time one day team on batting alone. Is a great sportsman and an articulate role model. Is simply the one of the most exciting players of all time. Ask - who would you rather watch bat? Thanks Morgan for doing some proper research: "As for Don Bradman naming Tallon the greatest... he notes in his book 'Bradman's Best Ashes Teams' that if Gilchrist was to keep up a high average (it was written around 2000) he would go past Tallon as the man he would choose in his team." - I think Gilchrist has achieved that now. Richie Benaud picks Gilchrist - good enough for me. Ok - I didn't start out to hack another bloke's blog (Pinstripe)- but I just had to! "I find only 6 of gilchrist's 17 centuries being scored in a scenario when he came in at less than 200" OK 17!!!! ONLY 6!!!! For a start 6 is more than a handy third - not to mention all the quick fire half centuries or even 30's and 40's that Gilly has contributed to boost Australia's chances. Rod Marsh was always considered a good batsman for a keeper and he only scored 3 centuries in his entire career. 17! 6! Come on. Boony is an all-time legend and at no. 3 he had 21 tons against his name. You can bet Gilly will be well over that mark in the coming years. On keeping skills: Quite simply the guy takes catches. He stumps guys in a flash. I don't care if he's diving or standing on his head - he takes what should be taken and doesn't miss much. I know that we all think back on the keepers of our youth with fondness. Rod Marsh was mine. Incredible athletics, speed, and silky skills. Quantifying keeping skills of keepers from different eras is almost impossible - fun to try but hard. No-one really knows how Ponting and Bradman would have gone if they swapped places. Pretty well I reckon, but no way to tell what their stats would have been. Gilly has the stats against his name and he doesn't drop much. That'll do I reckon. I'm sure there are have been keepers with slightly better skills - but not by far. Gilchrist performs with the bat and with the gloves. Kumar Sangakarra is quite entitled to be considered up there, but it's a bit early for that. I'm sure The Don would pick him too if he keeps performing over the years. Would anyone REALLY leave Gilchrist out of a champion team if they were picking it???? By the way to the guy that is annoyed by the way Gilly whips off the bails with any half-chance stumping - better that than a fumbled Jones effort. And if it pisses you off imagine how the batsmen feel.

  • Umair on December 20, 2006, 19:32 GMT

    Thank you Stuart, for that unnecessary jibe against Pakistan. Good to see you Aussies helpless on the Hair sacking!

  • Pinstripe on December 20, 2006, 19:00 GMT

    Sorry to come in again, and this time I won't give stats to anyone. "he doesn't have the same presence on the field, the bravado, or the mental edge over the world's best batsmen"????? Doesn't have the same presence? Really? And what is bravado? Mouthing off to batsmen? Or bowling 40 overs in a day in baked, dead conditions to get something like 8/180 every test match, and having to carry a pedestrian bowling attack on one's shoulders for well over a decade? And mental edge? Who are, pray, the world's greatest modern batsmen? Ian Bell? Daryll Cullinan? or Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara? We all know what happened to Warne in India, don't we? And publicity? Popularity? A whole country's cricketing revolution could be represented by Murali. And in the subcontinent (which happens to make cricket the marketing phenomenon that it is), Murali is as much if not more popular (indeed, more, on the sheer dint of performance) than Warne. Will make it simpler. Look, I am Indian. And cricketing rivalries are a big thing in the sub-continent. And yet here I am writing tomes and tomes for Murali, who plays for, indeed, a rival nation.

  • shane on December 20, 2006, 13:41 GMT

    Hi All

    Gilly is by far the most match winning of all keepers ever. He may not be the best keeper, however he drops very few catches and has taken a number of spectacular ones.

    He could have been at the heights of his powers picked as a batsman alone and very few of the keepers could do that. He bats at 7 for team balance. He could quite easily have batted as high as 4 if he wasn't a keeper. Remember the unbelievable innings he played to rescue Oz in Sri Lanka at no.3 against Murali and Co.

    I believe he could have made more runs batting higher because his liking to the new ball rather than the old. Tends to play too early and get caught when the ball is not coming on to the bat.

    I for one will be sad when he retires because he is my favourite cricketer of all time and is totally unselfish and plays for the team at all times.

  • Michael from Brisbane on December 20, 2006, 10:22 GMT

    The Serf Gilly is right handed. He bats left handed. He writes, throws, plays golf etc right handed

  • Stuart on December 20, 2006, 10:08 GMT

    Firstly, one might comment that, regarding Strauss, this is perhaps the third or fourth time this series which he has been unfairly dismissed by a bad decision. It is poosible that Koertzen simply made a bad decision, but this has to be accepted, in England we could expect appeals to succeed far more easily, cast your minds back to Edgbaston, and the same exists in Australia. Unless people want to follow Pakistan and ask for his resignation over this, it simply has to be accepted, although maybe suggested that Koertzen should re-examine appeals against Strauss in future. On the subject of Gilchrist it is simple. Regardless of any other factors, Gilchrist is simply one of a kind; his ton the other day was breathtaking and a representation that, whatever else he is, there is no-one like him to go out and attack. Only one thing is sure, and that is that we'll miss himk when he's gone.

  • Manish on December 20, 2006, 9:27 GMT

    It is Syed Kirmani ......Dujon comes a close second

  • marcus on December 20, 2006, 8:04 GMT

    Khurram, Flower's only played 4 games against Bangladesh and 2 against West Indies. Gilchrist has played 4 against Bangladesh, 12 against West Indies and 2 against Zimbabwe.

  • Khurram on December 20, 2006, 5:50 GMT

    another reason why Andy has higher average than gilchrist in tests is because he is no where near the strike rate with which Glily scores.... if he had done that then his average wud hav been around 30s... its just unbelievable someone who destructs every other ball have an average of 49 in tests...and ODI average is also so high even when he's an opener... thats just amazing... dunno why he's so under rated as a batsman...but in the history of the game of cricket few individuals have scored with that pace and still maintained such a high career average amazing...

    also comparing Andy with Gilly is unfair to Gilchrist as dont forget Zimbabwae play a hell of a lot matches against bangladesh and west indies and other weak teams as they give them 5 tests series and many times in an year...while australia or england at best give zimbabwae 2-3 tests and that too after a long period.... while Australia play with the best of the lot more... I guess only India is the team among the top teams who play frequently with Zimbabwe (just to improve their ‘star’ batsmen average and win at least something in tests) …if u see Andy flower's record he scored an awful lot of runs against lesser bowling attacks including India while Gilly has been consistent against the best and has a better average against better bowling attacks….

  • skid on December 20, 2006, 5:43 GMT

    What pinstripe fails to mention is the publicity and popularity that players such as Warney and Gilly bring to the game, not to mention their contribution to team victory!

    Forget the stats, Murali will never be viewed in as high a regard as Warne, even though he will probably take more test wickets by the time he retires. This is because he doesn't have the same presence on the field, the bravado, or the mental edge over the world's best batsmen. Those things can't be measured with figures!

    For the same reason, Gilly will appear in people's 'all-time 11' for years to come, far more than Sangakarra will. He's an entertainer, not an accumulator, a game winner, not a game saver!

    Some greats can't be represented merely by stats, and Gilly and Warne are certainly examples of that!

  • Pinstripe on December 19, 2006, 13:57 GMT

    I would, though, like to differ with Sam's take on Gilly's influence and Warne's. Gilly's influence has been in that any international keeper who averages 20+ would never be safe with his place in the team again. Mid-to-late thirties is considered about par for course. And the scenario was not so tight before Gilly. And Warne's development hasn't resulted in a free flow of leg spinners across the world anyway. we in India have always had leg spinners. So did our subcontinental neighbors. England never did and neither did South Africa or West Indies. Indeed, Warne has been a change agent, but only in Australia, quite like Kapil Dev for India... The Sreesanths and Irfans of today owe everything to him. And well, transforming a country's cricketing mindset is very big indeed, but not as big as redefining the way the game is played. That Gilly did. Greatest ever? Very tough to say. Great change agent? Very definitely.

  • Pinstripe on December 19, 2006, 13:15 GMT

    Seals, you leave me with no choice but to respond. 1. "On averages, both Sangakkara and Muralidaran will always suffer for full respect due to the proportionally greater number of games they play against the weaker Test playing nations" --- And as that comes with my least favourite topic i.e. Murali vs. Warne, I had to take resort to statistics, and assure you to sour up the discussion.

    Matches/Wickets/Best/Average/5for

    Against England Murali 13 93 9/65 19.74 6 Warne 34 186 8/71 23.43 10 Against South Africa Murali 15 104 7/84 22.22 11 Warne 24 130 7/56 24.16 7

    And against the national team that plays spinners the best? i.e. Against India Murali 15 67 8/87 32.47 4 Warne 14 43 6/125 47.18 1

    The subcontinent have accepted Warne as something special, a gift to cricket. I think it is high time Australia, England and South Africa do the same for Murali. And Cricinfo has a filter on Statsguru. I'd suggest people use it. 2. Again, Gilchrist is awesome, no doubting that. But two of Sangakkara's four double centuries came against South Africa, and one against Pakistan. That speaks for a bit, doesn't it? 3. How does one define which innings is critical to the match's outcome and which has not? I find only 6 of gilchrist's 17 centuries being scored in a scenario when he came in at less than 200 for 5. And for a number 3 to come in to bat, every innings is critical to the match's outcome, isn't it? A comfortable majority?

    To end, Gilchrist is possibly one of my five favourite current international cricketers. My intention is/was not to compare between any two cricketers, but just ask for a fair evaluation. In fact, I liked Sam's comment. The person one should compare Sangakkara with would be Alec Stewart and not Gilchrist. Their roles in their teams are totally different.

  • Morgan on December 19, 2006, 10:51 GMT

    As for Don Bradman naming Tallon the greatest... he notesi n his book 'Bradman's Best Ashes Teams' that if Gilchrist was to keep up a high average (it was written around 2000) he would go past Tallon as the man he would choose in his team.

  • Tim on December 19, 2006, 7:39 GMT

    I grew up idolising Wally Grout - I can't remember him dropping anything when keeping to Benaud / Davidson et al. And in combination with Simpson at slip, nothing ever seemed to get through. Gilchrist's value as an 'all-rounder' has provided Australia with an exceptionally long batting line up which has propelled them to many unlikely victories.

  • Hashim Khan on December 19, 2006, 5:16 GMT

    Sure Gilchrist is a good batsman wicketkeeper...and is lethal in both forms of the game as he maintains a high strike rate, but I think one player who is developing into one of the best batsman-wicketkeeper ever is Kumar Sangakarra from Sri Lanka. Every time I see him play he gets better and better.

  • Tony on December 19, 2006, 3:31 GMT

    Gilly is the best, but he has probably caused the death of the wicketkeeper/batsman. Since his selecton other teams have tried to copy Australia. Just look at England they picked Jones over Read because he scored more runs but he hasn't and has missed quite a few chances.The stumping he missed from Monty (M Clarke) was hard but not impossible. Unless you have an huge difference in batting I think you should go for the best keeper.

  • Sam on December 19, 2006, 0:36 GMT

    I don't see how Gilchrist has changed the game. If he had, you would see Sangakkara batting at 7, Boucher throwing the bat at everything, Alec Stewart brought back into the England team at the age of 63 because of the way he smashed quick bowling etc. Everyone knows that Gilchrist is a freak, and to be honest, apart from India's Dhoni, I can't think of any team that's tried to out and out emulate Gilchrist. He has most certainly changed the way Australia play the game, and he has without doubt been one of the greatest keeper batsmen to play the game. But unlike Warene, he hasn't inspired a long line of try hard imitators. Sangakkara is a completely different player and is arguably just as good - but he has a completely differnt role to play. Dujon had to keep to the most formidable bowling line up ever assembled. Healy often had to bat behind a struggling top order. It is a very subjective thing to discuss, and suffice to say that Gilchrist is a great player. Whether he'd make an all-time XI is very debateable in relies on a lot more factors other than strike rate.

  • dr manish on December 18, 2006, 22:35 GMT

    gilly is the best..dhoni is ready to take on the mantle

  • paul on December 18, 2006, 21:40 GMT

    Adam Gilchrist's average is very misleading. In that he doesnt worry about it at all. i have lost count of the number of times he has came out as australia look for quick runs, smashes a couple of 4's then throws his wicket away. (contrast that with say jacques kallis of south africa who is obcessed with his batting average and would never up the ante so that his team can look for quick runs.

  • Sailesh Radha on December 18, 2006, 16:40 GMT

    I am of the opinion that wicketkeeper is a specialist position. If he/she can bat also then it is a bonus. After having read all the comments here, I can't help notice that with all that exalted literature and prose on Ashes & about cricket in England, South Africa and Australia it is easy to talk about Gilchrist, Tallon, Lindsay, Oldfield and all the others mentioned from the first-world nations of the cricket fraternity. What about those from the lesser nations? Syed Kirmani & Wasim Bari, why are not they being mentioned in the same light as Knott and Marsh. Not much has been written about them because they played for one of the weakest teams during their careers. Their career paralleled Marsh and Knot, and they were exceptional keepers. Kirimani kept to four world-class spinners – Prasanna, Venkatraghavan, Bedi & Chandrashekar and also to a pacer in the form of Kapil. He was an adept lower-order batsman too, hitting two centuries as a night-watchman. Tallon might have been the best that Bradman has seen; Gilchrist, Knott & Marsh might have put on an exception display in the Ashes. No doubts. But we need to cast our nets wider to those who have not been glamorized in prose & by journalists.

  • john vane on December 18, 2006, 13:35 GMT

    Does anyone know what the margin of error is for Hawkeye? It never seems to get a mention. For a device that relies on extrapolation beyond a particular point - and given that the path of an object such a cricket ball (particularly when it has just pitched) is not particularly predictable I wonder just how accurate it is so I am always somewhat annoyed by commentators who rely so totally on it when it shows balls just hitting or just missing. Ian Chappell, Ravi Shastri and Michael Holding get it absolutely right when they say 'You'll read about it in the papers tomorrow'. I'm not sure if anyone else feels this way but it seems that if an Umpire makes a mistake the TV commentators in particular constantly draw attention to it in replays by saying, 'Given out somewhat dubiously' or 'Unfortunate to be out' then they abuse batsmen who hesitate at the crease when they get wrong decisions. That's my spleen vented on that issue. On the matter of wicket keepers, when a keeper batting at seven can score a century in 58 balls or so and also take every chance that comes his way I'll take him over someone who can bat and looks better with the gloves or who can take great leg side catches but can't bat. By the way Flower stopped keeeping halfway through his career, only kept to medium pacers and never kept to Shane Warne. Also Knott did not play international 200 games of one day cricket or have anywhere near the wear and tear on his body of Gilchrist.

  • Willow on December 18, 2006, 11:54 GMT

    Gideon Haigh's distinction between wicketkeeper/batsmen and batsmen/wicketkeepers is a subtle but important one.

    Gilchrist, is hardly in danger of losing his place in the Australian side for his wicketkeeping abilities, but a best-ever team is a different matter. The five best batsmen who ever lived are coming in ahead of the wicketkeeper.

    People who think runs win test matches will choose Gilchrist over Knott in their best-ever team. People who think wickets win test matches will choose Knott.

    Bradman's selection policy was to pick the best wicketkeeper regardless of his batting skills. This is the correct policy, because in the long-run the gain in extra runs would be more than cancelled out by the losses from dropped catches or missed stumpings.

    Incidentally, Bradman also believed in selecting balanced teams: 5 batsmen, a wicketkeeper and 5 bolwers. With a batsman like Gilchrist in the side, averaging in the order of 50 throughout his career (significantly more in the early years) and with the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck, there is no excuse for not having 5 bowlers in the side, with Gilchrist at 6 where he should be anyway (and a longer tail to bat with).

    Apart from the variety, flexibility and greater freshness of bowlers that 5+1+5 gives the captain, it reduces individual bowlers' workloads by 20% (from a quarter of the bowling each to a fifth), which is more important than ever these days when the general playing workload is so high.

    Then the real value of Gilchrist to the side would be maximised.

  • Graeme on December 18, 2006, 11:44 GMT

    Re: Strauss' Bad Run I agree Strauss has been given out a number of times when he wasn't out - but - It's all swings and roundabouts. Damien Martyn copped three bad decisions 15 months ago and even lost his place in the side because of the poor calls. (Recalling all this may have had some impact to suddenly retire mid-series this year when he had a run of low scores) Anyway I feel the loss of the Ashes in England was, as one journalist said, "a blip on the radar" when you consider that Australia failed by only three runs to go 2up in the series over there (England) and ultimately retain the ashes 2 - 1. And don't start on injuries or lack of form by the stars (Simon Jones, Harmison etc,)because Glenn McGrath was out injured for the two games Australia lost and Jason Gillespie was certainly down on form.

  • seals on December 18, 2006, 11:28 GMT

    Further to comparisons against Gilchrist. Healy doesn't come close to stacking up against Gilchrist.

    Go to the CricInfo stats section and do a comparison between Healy and Gilchrist. Gillie is averaging 1 dismissal more a test and has 7 more stumpings in 31 fewer tests - makes it a bit hard to argue Healy is better up to the stumps!!

    Pinstripe, sorry to come back at you again on Gilchrist centuries. The 'softening' up you refer to doesn't really hold as the comfortable majority of Gillie's tons have been critical to the match outcome and often rescuing Australia from parlous positions. Few batsmen could equal his ability to turn a match in rapid time.

  • Ian on December 18, 2006, 9:53 GMT

    Richie Benaud rates Gilchrist as his best ever wicket keeper and that is good enough for me. Rudi Koertzen has given appalling decisions in England's favour too. I was at the Oval last year when an England batsman (can't remember who) nicked it and was caught behind. 20,000 people at the ground heard the nick but not the man 22 yards away! One of the worst pieces of umpiring I have seen.

  • marcus on December 18, 2006, 9:26 GMT

    R. Srinivasan

    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Hawkeye tracks the ball up until it hits the pad, so it doesn't matter if the ball deflected onto a second pad or not. If they appealed for LBW, the umpire would rule based on contact with the first pad. Therefore, Hawkeye's trajectory would not be affected.

    As for the 'keeping thing, there have been plenty of greats. Gilchrist, Knott, Marsh, another one that my Dad rated highly was Denis Lindsay- the thing that really surprised me was that Healy was the gloveman in Australia's Team of the Century. He never struck me as being all that special. Based on one old highlight, I think Knott must have been the greatest, from the way that he took a diving grab from a wildly-spinning delivery, somersaulted, flicked it back between his legs and hit the stumps- out, stumped Knott. Pure genius.

  • Martinez on December 18, 2006, 9:23 GMT

    @Tadhg, good comments.

    I think you need to look at players ability to turn matches as a factor that can be assessed over different eras. Hard to imagine a player that has been more of a matchwinner than Gilly in the wicketkeeper role. I'm sure there have been some that have turned matches more regularly with the gloves than him, but his ability to score alot of runs quickly has won Australia many a test match.

  • McDonald on December 18, 2006, 8:55 GMT

    "Umpiring has been very abysmal at best and it did cost England the match. Had their fielding been sharp, they would have won the match easily."

    Don't forget what could have happened if they had taken 20 wickets/scored 200+ more runs.

  • DB on December 18, 2006, 8:27 GMT

    Once again it should be pointed out that hawkeye shows the ball missing by an inch and a half not a foot and a half( get it right!!) I will also point out that as an umpire who has actually stood at first class and International level I always find it hard to believe that incorrect decisions are always classed as Bad decisions. There is very definitley a vast difference between the two. An incorrect decsion is simply an error made by an umpire who has based a decision on a split second event and made the wrong choice.Every umpire will make them and every umpire will get them wrong.Why isnt more fuss made of players deliberately appealling in the full knowledge that the batsman is not out. Give Rudi some credit. He has an outstanding record and will only ever make a decision based on what he see and hears, despite major pressure from players and journalists who have never umpired a match in their lives.

  • seals on December 18, 2006, 8:17 GMT

    Pinstripe There are two points I can't accept in your argument: i. keeping to offspinners vs legspinners. Muralidaran gets phenomenal turn but a right arm offie's bowling is visible to the keeper for the entire length of the pitch. It only disappears if it spins across the front of the batsman. You seem to think that the spinning pitches of the subcontinent make for a greater disadvantage for the keeper however I respectfully suggest that being sighted or otherwise is more important. That is the simple reason that keeping to leggies is considered the hardest keeping task. ii. Sangakkara is a better vice captain? This is just silly. How do you guage that? Gilchrist captained the winning series in India and is said to be an astute contributor to team tactics. His leadership by example is unchallengeable.

    On averages, both Sangakkara and Muralidaran will always suffer for full respect due to the proportionally greater number of games they play against the weaker Test playing nations. However I do accept Sangakkara as a legitimate candidate for Gilchrist's mantle.

    By the way folks you are also forgetting Mark Boucher - has 200s to his name and is neck and neck with Gilchrist in chasing down Healey's record; he's a wonderful fighter, perhaps the toughest player in the SA side.

  • matt on December 18, 2006, 8:06 GMT

    Gilchrist's real strength is as a batsman and this is where he has changed the game. Having an out and out aggresive batsman, a one-day type player coming in at 7 in a test side has allowed Australia to take the momentum away from the opposition over and over again and it wins them matches that might otherwise have been drawn. I have a suspicion that part of the reason that Symonds has been given so much time in the side is that he is being lined up for this role. Australia believe that they can find a quality keeper who can play as a genuine batsman. Whether or not he plays at number 7 or higher up the order is not the question. Haddin could open or bat 5 or 6 without disgracing himself.

  • Tadhg on December 18, 2006, 7:58 GMT

    I find all these comments about the best 'keeper a bit cumbersome. Fair enough, everyone wants to name their favourite as the greatest. But it's very difficult to rate anyone fairly. There are comments about Knott keeping to Underwood on wet rubbish English wickets, about Sangakkara taking care of Murali, Healy's technical excellence and concentration, and so on. How can we compare Gilchrist to Knott, when Knott had to deal with rubbish pitches, and Gilly gets, generally, decent ones? The same applies to batting averages. I've heard Ian Chappell say a lot of times that Rod Marsh's average would've been a lot higher if he hadn't needed to deal with the Windies' brilliant pace attack without a helmet. I think, at the end of the day, that there are only two things we can look at - the stats, compared between contemporaries, and the way they changed the role of the keeper in the team. This is more subjective, and probably needs comment from people with more knowledge than me. Comparing the stats of the keepers with their peers accommodates, to a certain extent the fact that pitches were different in different eras - uncovered, covered, etc. It also allows for the fluctuation in bowling styles. As good as Dujon was, I don't believe he did a huge amount behind spinners. And very few modern keepers have had to keep to real fast men. The comments about Gilly keeping to Thommo... He'd have done ok, he's used to Brett Lee (watching Late Night Legends, man, that stacked slips cordon still didn't have a chance in 74/75!). But many other modern keepers would have no hope. The same problems apply trying to compare batsmen and bowlers from other eras with those from the present. How would they have gone against Lillee and Thommo, or against the Windies 4 man attack at its peak? It's too hard to say. All we can say is how they rate in their generation. On Mr Koertzen, it's rough to say he's helped Brett Lee out. It's often gone the other way too. A lot of international umpires have had rather ordinary runs in Australia - both in favour of the home side and against - especially now that modern technology has made it so easy to scrutinize every aspect of their job. Last year, to my green and gold eyes, anyway, Australia seemed to miss the rub of the green most of the time - in England, out here. Perhaps the International Elite panel needs to be expanded, to give the members of the panel time to go to the countries they've got to adjudicate in and acclimatise in state/county/provincial games..? But, at the end of the day, every sport has these issues. And, I'd guess, overall, the rub of the green usually goes with the home team, and that's fair enough! That's the home advantage - the conditions, the crowds. And, umpires are human - of course they'll be influenced by it! Just hopefully not too much.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz on December 18, 2006, 7:43 GMT

    Umpiring has been very abysmal at best and it did cost England the match. Had their fielding been sharp, they would have won the match easily.

  • Ferrari on December 18, 2006, 7:38 GMT

    For Pakistan Rashid Latif & Saleem Yousuf I think they were the keepers right in the all time best----not bad batsmen either----quite handy fighters---keeping Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib,Qadir, Mushtaq, Saqlain while batting against WI great quicks (ofcourse not in the batting league of Gilcrist, Flower and Sngakara), but definately a lot better keepers.

  • Shane on December 18, 2006, 7:33 GMT

    NR

    Your a dreamer. Healy may have been world class to the spinners but he was rubbish to the pace. I remember him costing Alderman the record for the most wicket in Ashes series by dropping 2 catches.

    Also Mark Taylor one of the best slip fielders of all time, routinely was taking catches nearly behind healy, because healy hadn't even moved.

    Healy's work down the leg side was also shoddy and because of Gillys height he covers a lot more distance with his dives.

    Healy wasn't even the best keeper in QLD when he was selected. Peter Anderson was a far better keeper but broke a finger keeping up to Ian Botham at the WACA.

    The reason Healy was picked is that the selctors noticed the fight and will he had at a time where Australia needed inspiration and grit to turn around

    I admire Healy but apart from to Warne his keeping was average at best

  • R.Srinivasan on December 18, 2006, 7:29 GMT

    I am a little bemused at Gideon's comments re: Strauss' LBW in the second innings at Perth. If he wants to use Hawkeye to substantiate his comments, then he should go a step further and also use Channel 9's new technological gismo "hot spots" which indicated that given his stance and shouldering arms, the ball hit Strauss' front pad just on the knee roll and hit the back leg above the knee roll. This deflection would surely have altered the trajectory of the ball and consequently also put Hawkeye on the wrong trajectory. As many others have already commented, the moment you shoulder arms and do not play a stroke the batsman ceases to get the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, Strauss has had the raw end of the stick in earlier innings. But that is cricket. Damien Martyn suffered from that in England at the lastt Ashes series and lost his place in the side for a time.

  • Haggis on December 18, 2006, 7:14 GMT

    As an old keeper I agree with Rhino that the best pure wicketkeeper in the last 40 yrs was Berry, his leg side stumpings of Reifell and Fleming were brilliant but how about another name, Bert Oldfield, kept to O'Reilly, who was a medium pace leggie and Grimmett,54 tests, 78 catches and 52 stumpings shows what a gloveman he was and averaged a tick over 22 in the days of uncovered wickets

  • chetiya on December 18, 2006, 6:37 GMT

    I completely agree with Gideon Haigh. I would actually go further. If we agree that on the premise that the objective of the umpire is to ensure that the rules of the game are strictly adhered to there is a lot in the modern game that ought to be changed. These days we find ourselves in the ridiculous situation where the umpiring mistakes (sometimes crucial in the context of the game) are immediately exposed by television replays. With the available technology we can determine very accurately whether, to take an example, the ball pitched outside leg stump or whether the point of contact was outside the line of the stumps. We should make use of this technology. If each side is given a certain number of appeals (say three) we could decrease the number of umpiring errors appreciably. If the appeal is justified the side gets the decision reversed and retains the same number of available appeals. If not they will have exhausted an appeal appeal and would be left with two more. This would prevent the side from frivolous objections to umpiring decisions. So if Monty gets a rough decision you let it go. If Strauss gets one, you appeal protest big time! The time consumed looking at the replays is not time wasted if you consider the context of the decision. No matter how daunting the target may have been, in the end England would have had a better chance with Strauss at the crease. In the first innings a long inning by Strauss could have meant an England lead.

  • andrew schulz on December 18, 2006, 3:58 GMT

    A foot-and-a half? You've got to be in la-la land. I reckon there is a problem with Hawke-eye when the ball hits two objects, here right leg then left leg. And you can't simply say it was short of a length, it didn't stay down it can't be out. I hope Dar isn't thinking about past decisions. God knows what he is thinking about really. But let's just keep focussing on the decisions that go against England, and forget about the decisions that go against Australia.

  • NR on December 18, 2006, 2:30 GMT

    Are we so quickly forgetting the record holder for number of dismissals... Ian Healy? Mastered the art of keeping (and taking wickets) to world class spin bowling from Warne, as well as nursing what was once an immature slips corden with Tubby Taylor far to slow and hard at the ball when he first started at first slip. It was Healy who carried them through originally.

  • Jimbob on December 18, 2006, 2:29 GMT

    what about Geraint Jones, must be a good keeper batsman becuase he is keeping out a very good wicketkeeper in Read. For how much longer I don't know...

  • skid on December 18, 2006, 2:19 GMT

    Excuse my stupidity..... 4. Hussey

    Terrible mind blank, i'm off to see a doctor.

  • skid on December 18, 2006, 2:10 GMT

    Sorry for the irrelevant entry but I don’t know where I can post comments which don’t relate to Gideon’s blogs…. Can anyone help me??

    Anyway, I’m just trying to get an idea of how the strongest aussie side will look for the World Cup in April. This is my prediction….

    1. Jaques 2. Gilly 3. Ponting 4. ??? 5. Clarke 6. Symonds 7. C. White 8. B. Lee 9. Bracken 10. Clark 11. McGrath

    I’m sure people like Haddin, Cosgrove, North, Voges, Hogg will find their way into the squad, but I don’t know who would play at second drop.. any ideas??

    Also, it seems to me that Ronchi is hittin some serious form for WA. Maybe he deserves a go?

  • Nick on December 18, 2006, 1:33 GMT

    who would you listen too about selecting someone in the all-time XI? Some journo hack or Richie Benaud, one of the most astute cricketers ever. He had Gilchrist in his XI at no.8 coming in after Imran. And he is old enough to have seen every other keeper mentioned in this blog so his first hand opinion counts for a lot. Why does cricket have so many tools for journo's?

  • Skid on December 18, 2006, 1:16 GMT

    Gilly is simply the best! To any of you doubters, I want you to cast your minds back to Saturday, December 16, 2006! That's right, only two days ago, Gilly smacked the most dynamic and exhillerating tonne you'd ever wanna see! That knock typifies what he brings to the Aussie team,and to the game itself. He has completely changed the WK/ batsman role and all international teams are now searching for their very own Gilly (not a Flower, Knott, etc) I think it was Mark Taylor who said that the reason his keeping isn't given due credit, is because he doesn't fit the physical description of the best keepers in the past. His 6'1" frame may cause his glovework to look cumbersome or untidy, but it's actually superb. I'll concede that there may have been a few better craftsmen behind the pegs in the past (Healy, Marsh, Dujon, Knott), but his work with the willow puts him well above the pack in terms of the dual role! Flower may have been handy with the bat, but he couldn't win a game for Zimbabwe, the way Gilly has done for the Aussies on many occasions. It may seem unfair because of the lack of support from his team, but unless you win games off your bat or gloves,you can't be viewed as the greatest. Also, the only reason Flower's average is slightly higher is because he's had to stay at the crease, to bring some credibility to his side's totals. I'm sure if Gilly came to the crease more often with the world on his shoulders, he could bat more cautiously and bump up his stats! Go the Aussies!

  • Gerhardt on December 18, 2006, 1:11 GMT

    Gilly is most definately the best wicketkeeper batsman - of that there can be no doubt! I also rate Andy Flower very highly. He topped the world test batting averages a few years ago as well! Has Gilly ever done that?

  • Paul G on December 18, 2006, 1:03 GMT

    I can tell you one bloke you doesn't care who the best keeper-batsman or batsman-keeper is or was - A Gilchrist. What he does care about is the two World Cups his team has won, with two noteable exceptions all the Test series his team has won since his addition and all the mindless one day series his team has won. Messers Flowers, Sangakarra etc would happily shave a few points off their averages for that record.

  • andrew f on December 17, 2006, 23:43 GMT

    To Pinstripe, you make some good comments about Sangakkara but what you forget is Gilly has changed the way test cricket is now played, and led the way for guys like Sangakkara to play this way. Gilly has come in many a time when Australia have been in trouble and suddenly hauled them back into a winning position with a fast 50 or 100. But to say he is an inferior Vice Captain to Sangakarra, you are well off the mark. Gilly stepped up to Captain the side in India when Ponting was injured and guided the team to an historic series win, not many great Captains have achieved that, let alone vice captains.

  • andrew f on December 17, 2006, 23:36 GMT

    You can probably put aside Gillys keeping for a minute and say he has been instrumental in changing the way modern test cricket is played - by being the key cog in Australia's batting that has boosted test run rates and hence created more opportunities for a result in any particular test (99% of the time to Australias advantage). This has generated new interest in a form of the game that was rapdily losing fans. Listen to guys like Richie Benaud who has seen more cricket than anyone on the planet and when he suggests Gilly is one of the all time greats and fits into his best 11, I think thats a fair assessment from someone not prone to grandiose statements. Now to his keeping - technically there are probably better keepers, but he is no slouch. Keeping to the greatest bowler of all time and not missing too many chances shows he is very sound. What Gilly has brought to the game surely warrants him being considered one of the finest players of all time and he would have to be the pick in any all time world 11 as keeper. The innings on Saturday confirms this, one of the greatest displays of clean, power hitting ever seen.

  • richards on December 17, 2006, 23:20 GMT

    There's an awful lot of hair splitting. Hard to argue that Gilly isnt the most watchable and explosive batsman keeper of all time. Hard to say that Knott wasnt close to the best keeper of all time, which probably means he'd get the guernsey in the all time dream team with an average of 32. And hard to argue with Flower's record as a batsman/keeper, playing for Zim up the order. Interesting to know if Gilchrist's record would have been worse or better if he'd batted up the order. Who cares? Just please dont bat him at 6 so they can put Watson in the team.

  • Hamza on December 17, 2006, 23:01 GMT

    What more Gilchrist could do to be the no 1 wicketkeeper/batsman? There is really no doubt what so ever that Gilchrist is the no 1 wicketkeeper/batsman in the history of cricket. Just think about it that he comes out to bat at no 6 and still he averages over 50. Remember he is a regular opener in ODI's but he still does maintain his excellent form in the test matches batting at no 6. Not many batsmen i have seen doing that and remember that he doesn't play as a specialist batsman.

  • The Serf on December 17, 2006, 23:00 GMT

    I think you are being far too kind on Gilchrist's Glovework. First up I will say he is quite a good 'keeper to the spinners especially Warne. I think the fact he is left-handed helps him this respect moving down the right-handers leg-side.

    However he is, among current international 'keepers, one of the worst to the fast men. The number of catches he is forced to take diving (and the amount he can't reach) is testament to the fact that he does not move his feet enough. I think a majority if the diving catches he takes would be taken by most 'keepers on the move and thus other 'keepers can take diving what Gilchrist cannot reach. And he shows these flaws in a team where the fast-bowling team is one of the most accurate in the history of the game. Can you imagine Gilchrist 'keeping to Thommo? He wouldn't last a day.

    And does it annoy anyone else to tears that he takes the bails off on virtually every ball that he takes cleanly up to the stumps, or is that just me?

  • W Pardy on December 17, 2006, 22:42 GMT

    I don't know if the same view is prevalent at an international level, but whilst doing my umpiring exam several years ago, the prevailing view was that basically a different onus was applied in circumstances where no shot was offered by a batsman. Rather than the benefit of the doubt being in favour of the batsman, the decision was simply reduced to a balance of probabilities as to whether the ball would have hit the stumps. If you thought the ball was 51% likely to hit the stumps, then you should give the batsman out, subject of course to the ball not pitching outside leg stump.

  • Saumil on December 17, 2006, 22:09 GMT

    Kirmani remains the greatest 'keeper I have seen in the last 40 years or so. To keep wickets standing up to Indian spinners, particularly Chandrasekhar, requires a "special" talent.

    Gilchrist has changed the role of wicket keepers in a team. The role now demands 'keepers to score runs as well. My opinion is simple, wicket keeper's position is a specialised position and his first job is to keep wickets. There are batsmen in the team to score runs. If the 'keeper can bat a bit and contribute some runs, it is a bonus. But to depend on a 'keeper to score runs is not the right thing.

  • fred on December 17, 2006, 19:51 GMT

    The point someone made above is very good - how many Tests a wicketkeeper wins for his country is a very good way to judge his worth. Also it is true that Gilchrist has redefined the role of a 'keeper in the same way that Shane Warne has redefined legspin and brought it back to life. (Jayasuriya didn't invent slogging at the top of the order though - Mark Greatbatch did in the 1992 World Cup!)

    Strauss may not have been out, but my first reaction when I saw that ball was 'that's out'. So yes, a wrong decision but not a poor one.

  • Khurram on December 17, 2006, 18:54 GMT

    well Gilchrist is by Far the best wicketkeeper batsman in the history of cricket...make no mistake... all those guys who are saying he makes mistakes than some other wicketkeepers then they shud give instances of him failing and also how much costly his ma\istakes has been?> 50 or 100 runs? thats it? he has scored way more than that in his career...

    He is the best coz he is by far the best batsmen than any of the lot... sum of u are comparing him with Walcot, Knot, Sangakkara or Andy Flower ...but even though ANdy's average is a bit higher in tests... Gilchrist is not behind, and he has by far the better scoring rate and the ODI average...and his technique is way better than all of them...they was he has played all the best bowlers, i remember the way he destroyed wasim, waqar n shoaib whenever he played against pakistan, they had no clue how to get him out... and his destructing batting alone demoralizes every team... he is the single most importtant reason why Aussie has wonin everything over the past decade!

  • sam on December 17, 2006, 17:18 GMT

    Rudi has got to be the biggest hack for the Australians...Lee in particular owes half of his test wickets to him...

  • Sourabh Daga on December 17, 2006, 17:12 GMT

    i think the greatest keeper that i have ever seen has to be jack russle. he kept wickets to fast medium swing bowlers standing up to them. He was simply superb. whats sad is that he couldnt play much because of his stubborn batting which didnt helped a team's cause in ODI's. Talking of english keepers Alec stewart wasn't bad either. The world has over the years has seen many keepers who were awsome with bat the list is long starting from dashing Farooqh Engineer who was the first person to score a century in the first session of a test, Moin Khan on turners with his sweep shots was awsome, Ian healy had a strike rate of more that 95% in ODI's then there was romesh kaluwitharna, Dhoni, Macullum however Adam Gilchirist will always be remembered as the best wicketkeeper batsman the world has ever seen or should i say batsman wicketkeeper. One more interesting fact about Gilchirist, he started his ODI carrer as a pure batsman for Australia.

  • Darren Mawson on December 17, 2006, 16:50 GMT

    I disagree that the Strauss decision was "wrong". Their is a reason that the person facing a bowler is called a "Batsman", if you do not play a shot you deserve to lose any 'benefit of the doubt'. As to consulting with their square leg colleagues, upon an appeal 99% of the time your first thought (out/not out) is correct.

  • Tom on December 17, 2006, 14:35 GMT

    I don't think 'getting stuck into Rudi' is the point of the article, just commenting on the quality of umpiring. It seems valid to me. Yes it is a difficult job, but if an umpire or umpires in general are making systematic errors then we should point it out. I agree with Gideon that umpires should consult more often. I think it would help if umpires focussed on the quality of their decisions rather than surrounding themselves with a bubble of schoolmasterish absolute authority. Some comment on the length of time Rudi and others take to make their decisions, but they should take as long as they need. I would be interested to hear from an umpire too though, if you have doubts is there anything a colleague can say to you from square leg that will get you over the 'benefit of the doubt to the batsman' criteria. Maybe there isn't and any umpire with the need to consult should just give not out but I am not convinced.

  • Rhino on December 17, 2006, 13:08 GMT

    I have kept wickets for 35 years and for pure wicketkeeping ability, I believe the best 'keeper anywhere in the last 40 years never played test cricket - because his batting wasn't good enough. I speak of Darren Berry. As far as Gilchrist goes, anyone who keeps to Warne (and McGill) well - as he has done - is a fine keeper - and no one can argue about his batting prowess. The only other keeper who came near Gilchrist for innings saving performances was Alan Knott - who was probably a better pure 'keeper than Gilly, but not as good a bat. So for overall impact, I'd have to say Gilly just pips A.P.E. Knott. Sangakarra hasn't done enough yet to rest in that company - is he even keeping at the moment?

  • Michael on December 17, 2006, 12:40 GMT

    Honestly, What cricket test series have you been watching? Ask any batsmen that umpiring decisions even themselves out. Instead of critisizing umpires let us support them, as it is mostly a thankless task.

  • andrew barr on December 17, 2006, 12:21 GMT

    Having watched Alan Knott keeping wicket to Derek Underwood on wet pitches, there is no doubt that Knott is the greatest keeper I have seen over the past 40 years. He stayed low and came up beautifully with the ball. To me, none in that 40 years have rivalled his ability to stand up to the stumps...and that's really the mark of a great keeper. His batting was vefry useful....nothing like Gilchrist's, but to me, enough to make him the best wicketkeeper/batsman I've seen.

  • Grant on December 17, 2006, 11:50 GMT

    I'm not sure what you were watching to say the Strauss LBW was shown to be going over by a foot and a half. Hawkeye showed it going over by an inch and a half.

    Remember that Ponting was given out in the 1st innings to a ball that was shown to be just clipping the bails. The consensus with that LBW seems to be that it was a good decision, as it was shown to be. However, the difference between that decision and the Strauss one was a matter of a couple of inches, yet one is called a good decision and the other a poor one.

    In my view the Strauss decision was the wrong one, but not a poor one. That said, there is a tendency for umpires to fire out batsman for not playing shot. It looks bad, but the fact there was not a shot played should not have come into the decision making process, since he was not hit outside the line (the only time the not playing a shot law comes into play).

  • Shiv on December 17, 2006, 11:27 GMT

    I think wicket keepers are like goal keepers.Seldom they catch the attention especially when they go about doing their job with efficiency.In this case, Gilchrist certainly has done enough in a long career to merit a place along side the great wicket keepers of yester years.

  • Jaya Param on December 17, 2006, 11:21 GMT

    It is not really worth buying into the debate on 'who is the best keeper/batsman in history without judging who contributed most to victories by their respective teams. I never saw Don Tallon play but I would venture that if he played in teams with 'The Don' then his batting would no doubt have been superfluous. So he would have been judged mostly on his glovework. It is fair to say that Gilchrist has, off his own bat won many games for Aust. (think Bellrieve 1999, Mumbai 2001 just to name a few). On the other side he has not lost any games to my mind with his glovework and again has contributed to many victories. All we really know on this matter Gideon is that Gilchrist has changed the nature of the wicketkeeper in test cricket in much the same way that Jayasuriya changed the role for openers in one day cricket. I am certain that Alan Knott did no such thing, rather he was the best exponent of the past definition of the wicketkeeper/batsman. With regards to Strauss I think it is immaterial whether the ball looked like it was passing over the stumps by one foot or by one inch. In my opinion any time a batsman does not offer a shot then he loses the benefit of any doubt that the umpire might have. Lets be honest Strauss was beaten off the pitch and in his head so whilst he may not have been out he certainly doesn't deserve any benefit of doubt nor our sympathy.

  • Jaya Param on December 17, 2006, 11:19 GMT

    It is not really worth buying into the debate on 'who is the best keeper/batsman in history without judging who contributed most to victories by their respective teams. I never saw Don Tallon play but I would venture that if he played in teams with 'The Don' then his batting would no doubt have been superfluous ( I am interested to know how often and how many he contributed when the top order failed and the innings rested on his blade). So he would have been judged mostly on his glovework. It is fair to say that Gilchrist has, off his own bat won many games for Aust. (think Bellrieve 1999, Mumbai 2001 just to name a few). On the other side he has not lost any games to my mind with his glovework and again has contributed to many victories. All we really know on this matter Gideon is that Gilchrist has changed the nature of the wicketkeeper in test cricket in much the same way that Jayasuriya changed the role for openers in one day cricket. I am certain that Alan Knott did no such thing, rather he was the best exponent of the past definition of the wicketkeeper/batsman. With regards to Strauss I think it is immaterial whether the ball looked like it was passing over the stumps by one foot or by one inch. In my opinion any time a batsman does not offer a shot then he loses the benefit of any doubt that the umpire might have. Lets be honest Strauss was beaten off the pitch and in his head so whilst he may not have been out he certainly doesn't deserve any benefit of doubt nor our sympathy

  • Simon Goldstone on December 17, 2006, 11:13 GMT

    I dont quite understand the point of getting stuck into rudi. All the umpires make mistakes that we can see after we have countless numbers of replays. I thought it looked like sour grapes to talk about the perth pitch bouncing a lot so he should have known that it was going over. Firstly, everyone is having a dig at perth saying that the pitch is not what it used to be and that the bounce is no where near as significant. Secondly, if you do not play a shot to that sort of delivery you are just asking for trouble.

  • David Barry on December 17, 2006, 10:59 GMT

    I think that the distinction between keeper-batsman and batsman-keeper is a strange one to make. If I were a selector, I would always go for the best overall keeper-batsman (or batsman-keeper), regardless of what the rest of the team looked like. With this in mind, Gilchrist surely beats Knott, unless you think that Knott's keeping would earn an extra 16 or 17 runs per innings. Imagine how demoralising it would be for a team in the field to see Gilchrist coming out at number eight!

    Andy Flower averaged 53.7 as keeper; Walcott 40.7; Ames 43.4.

  • AB on December 17, 2006, 10:49 GMT

    What about Andy Flower? He played in a rubbish Zimbabwe team for his whole career and has a higher average than Gilchrist. He has also had success against every Test playing nation. If Flower had been playing in Gilchrists Australia side he would have been even better.

  • leftarmer on December 17, 2006, 10:10 GMT

    If Gilchrist had been selected simply as a batsman at No. 6 in the order and allowed to field in the slips, he might have scored over 8000 runs by now. Even now, if the selectors wanted to keep him playing, they could select Haddin as keeper and allow Gilchrist to play as a batsman alone.

  • Pinstripe on December 17, 2006, 8:15 GMT

    I am surprised no one mentions Kumar Sangakkara here. I agree that he has a little bit farther to go before staking his claim to being the greatest ever, but as performances at this stage of the career go, he is right up there, I think. He keeps to Murali (and any decent keeper at any level will know that keeping to an offie on low and slow subcontinental tracks with uneven bounce is much tougher than to a leggie on even bounced australian tracks), he bats at 3 and has an average higher than that of Gilchrist, and don't forget Gilly has the cushion of the often brilliant Australian top six coming in before him (and softening the bowling attacks for a Gilly onslaught), while Sangakkara has only the often brittle Sri Lankan opening pair. Also, I insist that Sangakkara is a superior vice captain than Gilchrist. And what he is doing in the current series of Sri Lanka's in New Zealand is well nigh spectacular... of course, some P. Jayawardene fellow is keeping in his place...

  • Gichrist's Greatest Fan from Nepal on December 17, 2006, 8:13 GMT

    You guys are just speaking about Don Bradman and the praises he showered for Don Tallon. But DB hardly saw the Gilly that the cricket world knows today. Had he seen Gilchrist bat, well I do not doubt that DB himself would acknowledge Gilly as the greatest WK/Batsman and yes in both forms of the game. Closest to him as "WK/Batsman" would be Kumar Sangakkara.

  • Pinstripe on December 17, 2006, 8:10 GMT

    I am surprised no one mentions Kumar Sangakkara here. I agree that he has a little bit more to go before staking his claim to being the greatest ever, but as performances at this stage of the career go, he is right up there, I think. He keeps to Murali (and any decent keeper at any level will know that keeping to an offie on low and slow subcontinental tracks with uneven bounce is much tougher than to a leggie on even bounced australian tracks), he bats at 3 and has an average higher than that of Gilchrist, and don't forget Gilly has the cushion of the often brilliant Australian top six coming in before him (and softening the bowling attacks for a Gilly onslaught), while Sangakkara has only the often brittle Sri Lankan opening pair. Also, I insist that Sangakkara is a superior vice captain than Gilchrist.

  • marcus on December 17, 2006, 7:29 GMT

    Naval Patel, I suggest you read "Bradman's Best", where Bradman chooses his greatest ever team. He chose Tallon over Healy, Dujon, Marsh, Knott and Evans. He also says that in his prime, Tallon was a far better bat than his average suggests. However, saying that, Gilchrist has rescued us many times over the last 7 years.

  • Naval Patel on December 17, 2006, 6:34 GMT

    If Don Bradman genuinely believed Don Tallon was the best 'keeper ever, why did he allow him to be excluded from the 1938 touring team to England? Read Ray Robinson's account of selectoral machinations which resulted in Ben Barnett being chosen in preference.

  • Perm on December 17, 2006, 5:58 GMT

    The only ones that come remotely close to Adam Gilchrist would be Clyde Walcott and Andy Flower. Both were probably better batsman than him but the nature in which he goes about getting his runs is entirely different to them and that's what makes him so effective. I think Sir Donald Bradman was very fond of Don Tallon and certainly he was a very good keeper but as a batsman he does not compare. Les Ames may be the only wicket keeper for score 100 first class centuries but at test level he wans't as good as Gilchrist.

  • Morgan on December 17, 2006, 4:49 GMT

    What more does Gilchrist need to do to prove how good of a keeper he actually is? Where does all the doubt come from? He gives next to nothing away in terms of extras or dropped catches and keeps wonderfully well to a bowler most would struggle to-S.K. Warne-give the man his dues.

    On keeping skills alone there may be a small number ahead of him...but certainly not by far. His batting more than makes up for that. He is the greatest wicketkeeper/batsman or batsman/wicketkeeper of all time, bar none.

  • poontang1 on December 17, 2006, 4:14 GMT

    To say there has been a better wicket keeper/batsman or batsman/wicket keeper than Gilly is laughable! It's the overall contribution that counts. Not only does he have a batsmans average he has also kept to Warne for a long period and shone. So come on guys.... give credit where its due and declare Gilly the best! To say mesers Tallon, Knott etc are better overall is simply ignorant.

  • sampath on December 17, 2006, 3:12 GMT

    Walcott could keep and he was a better batsman than Gilchrist. I dunno how well he kept or for how many tests though.

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  • sampath on December 17, 2006, 3:12 GMT

    Walcott could keep and he was a better batsman than Gilchrist. I dunno how well he kept or for how many tests though.

  • poontang1 on December 17, 2006, 4:14 GMT

    To say there has been a better wicket keeper/batsman or batsman/wicket keeper than Gilly is laughable! It's the overall contribution that counts. Not only does he have a batsmans average he has also kept to Warne for a long period and shone. So come on guys.... give credit where its due and declare Gilly the best! To say mesers Tallon, Knott etc are better overall is simply ignorant.

  • Morgan on December 17, 2006, 4:49 GMT

    What more does Gilchrist need to do to prove how good of a keeper he actually is? Where does all the doubt come from? He gives next to nothing away in terms of extras or dropped catches and keeps wonderfully well to a bowler most would struggle to-S.K. Warne-give the man his dues.

    On keeping skills alone there may be a small number ahead of him...but certainly not by far. His batting more than makes up for that. He is the greatest wicketkeeper/batsman or batsman/wicketkeeper of all time, bar none.

  • Perm on December 17, 2006, 5:58 GMT

    The only ones that come remotely close to Adam Gilchrist would be Clyde Walcott and Andy Flower. Both were probably better batsman than him but the nature in which he goes about getting his runs is entirely different to them and that's what makes him so effective. I think Sir Donald Bradman was very fond of Don Tallon and certainly he was a very good keeper but as a batsman he does not compare. Les Ames may be the only wicket keeper for score 100 first class centuries but at test level he wans't as good as Gilchrist.

  • Naval Patel on December 17, 2006, 6:34 GMT

    If Don Bradman genuinely believed Don Tallon was the best 'keeper ever, why did he allow him to be excluded from the 1938 touring team to England? Read Ray Robinson's account of selectoral machinations which resulted in Ben Barnett being chosen in preference.

  • marcus on December 17, 2006, 7:29 GMT

    Naval Patel, I suggest you read "Bradman's Best", where Bradman chooses his greatest ever team. He chose Tallon over Healy, Dujon, Marsh, Knott and Evans. He also says that in his prime, Tallon was a far better bat than his average suggests. However, saying that, Gilchrist has rescued us many times over the last 7 years.

  • Pinstripe on December 17, 2006, 8:10 GMT

    I am surprised no one mentions Kumar Sangakkara here. I agree that he has a little bit more to go before staking his claim to being the greatest ever, but as performances at this stage of the career go, he is right up there, I think. He keeps to Murali (and any decent keeper at any level will know that keeping to an offie on low and slow subcontinental tracks with uneven bounce is much tougher than to a leggie on even bounced australian tracks), he bats at 3 and has an average higher than that of Gilchrist, and don't forget Gilly has the cushion of the often brilliant Australian top six coming in before him (and softening the bowling attacks for a Gilly onslaught), while Sangakkara has only the often brittle Sri Lankan opening pair. Also, I insist that Sangakkara is a superior vice captain than Gilchrist.

  • Gichrist's Greatest Fan from Nepal on December 17, 2006, 8:13 GMT

    You guys are just speaking about Don Bradman and the praises he showered for Don Tallon. But DB hardly saw the Gilly that the cricket world knows today. Had he seen Gilchrist bat, well I do not doubt that DB himself would acknowledge Gilly as the greatest WK/Batsman and yes in both forms of the game. Closest to him as "WK/Batsman" would be Kumar Sangakkara.

  • Pinstripe on December 17, 2006, 8:15 GMT

    I am surprised no one mentions Kumar Sangakkara here. I agree that he has a little bit farther to go before staking his claim to being the greatest ever, but as performances at this stage of the career go, he is right up there, I think. He keeps to Murali (and any decent keeper at any level will know that keeping to an offie on low and slow subcontinental tracks with uneven bounce is much tougher than to a leggie on even bounced australian tracks), he bats at 3 and has an average higher than that of Gilchrist, and don't forget Gilly has the cushion of the often brilliant Australian top six coming in before him (and softening the bowling attacks for a Gilly onslaught), while Sangakkara has only the often brittle Sri Lankan opening pair. Also, I insist that Sangakkara is a superior vice captain than Gilchrist. And what he is doing in the current series of Sri Lanka's in New Zealand is well nigh spectacular... of course, some P. Jayawardene fellow is keeping in his place...

  • leftarmer on December 17, 2006, 10:10 GMT

    If Gilchrist had been selected simply as a batsman at No. 6 in the order and allowed to field in the slips, he might have scored over 8000 runs by now. Even now, if the selectors wanted to keep him playing, they could select Haddin as keeper and allow Gilchrist to play as a batsman alone.