This has been a cricket tournament of some smashing performances by relatively unknown players, more by bowlers than batsmen. But a wicket-keeper’s brilliance, amidst all the attention cornered by the bat and the ball, almost went unnoticed.
Dishant Yagnik of Rajasthan Royals produced three catches, the most in an innings by a wicket-keeper so far this edition of the Indian Premier League. Two of them were outstanding efforts and Yagnik played a very crucial role in his team’s victory over Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this week.
Yagnik hadn’t kept wickets often during the past couple of seasons that he has been with RR, and his captain Rahul Dravid, no mean customer with the gloves behind the wickets himself, must have been delighted with his showing. Apart from Dravid, the team also has the promising Sri Lankan Kushal Perera and the pint-sized Sreevats Goswami also waiting for their turns. But it looks as though Yagnik will be difficult to dislodge, for the time being.
He has shown a very clean pair of gloves. Keeping wickets to the likes of the wayward and unpredictable Shaun Tait can be a very tough task but Yagnik ensured that he did not let anything pass him, however wide. Though he did not have the chance to effect a stumping or a run out, he showed that he has the reflexes to catch the batsman out of the crease in a flash should the need arise. Yagnik, along with Bangalore’s Arun Karthik, have been impressive behind the stumps.
Yagnik’s tumbling one-handed catch to dismiss Jacques Kallis was worth going miles to watch. In fact, this is one area where foreign signings have been outshone by Indians though the IPL record for the most dismissals belong to the great Australian Adam Gilchrist. In fact, Gilchrist, with Punjab now, is the only foreign wicket-keeper on show in IPL 6. Kolkata does have Brendon McCullum but he is yet to regain full fitness. Bangalore’s AB de Villiers joined the team for the last game but did not keep wickets as Arun has been doing a neat job.
Gilchrist is the first wicketkeeper to complete 40 catches in the IPL and with 56 dismissals (40 catches and 16 stumpings), he leads the way as far as work behind the stumps are concerned.
Hyderabad’s Parthiv Patel has had the most dismissals, four, to date in three games while Yagnik has had three from just one outing.
M S Dhoni (Chennai), Naman Ojha (Delhi), Dinesh Karthik (Mumbai), the highest run scorer, Manvinder Bisla (Kolkata), Robin Uthappa (Pune) are the others vying for wicket-keeping glory with Gilchrist, Parthiv and Yagnik. They do have some work to do to outshine the trio.