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We don't have an outstanding keeper: Kirmani

Faisal Shariff | October 16, 2003 16:03 IST

Minutes after Prathiv Patel missed a regulation run-out chance on the first morning of the second Test, chairman of selectors Syed Kirmani made it clear that the wicket-keeping slot is not yet settled.

"We have got no outstanding wicket-keeper," he told

Syed KirmaniKirmani and fellow-selectors Sanjay Jagdale and Pranab Roy were witness to a pedestrian fielding performance as India toiled at Mohali on Thursday. The eagle-headed former India keeper said the selectors are trying their best to identify a specialist keeper who can play in both forms of the game.

A specialist keeper in Test is no doubt a necessity, but the equation has changed in the one-dayers. Every top team in world cricket has a good batsman who can keep decently. Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher, Rashid Latif and Ridley Jacobs make decisive contributions with the bat in the one-dayers besides keeping wickets.

"I would still stand by my statement and opt for a specialist keeper in both forms of the game," believes Kirmani.

So would Rahul Dravid still be the ideal choice for the keeper's position in the shorter version of the game?

"Who said he is the ideal choice? Why should you ask me this? I will not go into details, but ensure that the best wicket-keeper will keep wickets for India."

Kirmani, however, hinted that Patel will have to prove himself in this Mohali Test when he said the true test of a keeper is when he stands up to the spinners in India.

Despite the draw in the first Test, he sounded optimistic about India's chances in the ongoing Test and lauded the team for playing well in most of the sessions at Ahmedabad. He was also quick to add that the luck factor did not go India's way.

"Also please don't forget that the New Zealanders batted very well. When the opposition is trying to save a match and playing defensively, winning becomes even more difficult. But we were on top and that matters."

Refusing to criticize the benign wickets for the two Test matches, Kirmani said players have to learn to adapt.

"These pitches should bring out the best in a player. That is the crux of identifying good players from ordinary ones."

But Kirmani clearly isn't a man who has time for history. Ask him about any selection from the past and he shoots down the conversation with terse replies, like: "Ask what is right now" and "Let's not go back retort".

He believes the opening batsmen for Tests have been given enough opportunities.

"Now it is up to them to establish themselves."

When asked to comment on Akash Chopra, India's latest opening rookie, he shot back, "I don't have to say anything. His performance talks for itself."

Ask him about the surplus of fast bowlers in the country and he says, "There is no surplus. Every era changes. We had a Kapil Dev, then a Javagal Srinath. We will encourage new bowlers to come up."

He believes in the archaic cycles theory.

"Everything in life follows a pattern. A cycle will bring in fast bowlers, followed by another cycle of spinners."

Maybe we need to apply that cycle theory to selection committees too. Someday we will have a selection procedure clear of zonal biases.

Kirmani also rubbished talk of a conflict of interests in having appeared in a commercial with Parthiv Patel for Brittania, and blamed petty minds for raking up the issue. He said the commercial was shot even before he was in contention for the selector's job.

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