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A highly talented four-Test wonder, a Lord's centurion, an explosive batsman, the current captain and his successor behind the stumps make up the wicketkeeping shortlist
March 8, 2010
Picking a wicketkeeper for the national team has never been a problem for Sri Lanka since they have produced some of the greatest glovemen the game has ever seen, before and after the Second World War. The sad part is, the cricket world never heard of many of them because Sri Lanka had not qualified for Test cricket at the time.
VC "Pug" Shockman was one of the finest keepers of the pre-war years, until Ben Navaratne came along. Navaratne gave keeping a new dimension by standing up to the stumps, even to fast bowlers, which forced the batsman to divide his attention between bowler and keeper. Another exceptional keeper was Dr Herbert IK Fernando, who was once ranked the best in Asia at a time when India had Farokh Engineer and Pakistan, Imtiaz Ahmed. Then followed Ranjit Fernando, a flashy wicketkeeper who also opened the batting and played for Sri Lanka in the inaugural World Cup in 1975; the aggressive Russel Harmer, who played in the same era as Fernando; and Mahes Goonatilleke, who played in the pre- and post-Test eras and was good enough to easily top the jury's list. It is pity these excellent glovemen, apart from Goonatilleke, could not play Tests, for their skills, toughness and competitiveness would have matched those of the present generation of keepers.
Guy de Alwis, unusually tall for a wicketkeeper, standing over six feet; Brendon Kuruppu, the first wicketkeeper-batsman to score a double-hundred on Test debut; and Hashan Tillakaratne, who made his Test debut as a wicketkeeper-batsman, are some of the keepers of the Test era who narrowly missed out.
We'll be publishing an all-time Sri Lanka XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your wicketkeeper click here
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