by Huzaifa Wakif
Mark Boucher: SA’s World Record Wicket Keeper
Hi Huzaifa, I have always thought that what defines a class wicket keeper from a back stop is the ability to be able to stand up to the stumps to the spinners and medium pacers.
Anyone who can catch a ball can stand back and catch for the quick bowlers.
So how to work on your ability to stand up the stumps and stumping skills ?
Wicket Keeping, like batting is about managing your focus, you need to keep your head still at the moment the bowler releases the ball so that you can judge flight and length.
These are general keeping drills to get you working on these skills, ask your club coach to help you with your wicket keeping.
You can do these drills down at the nets or anywhere you can find a flat piece of ground with true bounce, a tennis court is also ideal. Using tennis balls and a chair if you don’t have cricket balls, net and stumps.
Place your hands just behind the crease and to the side of off stump, palms together and open to receive the ball.
1. Practice Drill working with partner or Coach:
Staying Down, Keeping Your Arms Long
Working on standing up and stumping skills is about keeping your hands low so that they come up underneath the ball. If your head comes up, your hands come up.
Get your partner to roll the ball either side of the stumps, 10 each side, take your head over onto the line of the ball, sweep your hands across to collect the ball and transfer your weight back to the stumps.
Keep your body inside the line of the ball to allow your hands to get onto the line of the ball.
2. Practice Drill working with partner or Coach:
Repeat the drill, now get your partner to throw the ball on the half volley to challenge you to keep your hands down. 10 each side.
Work on catching the ball on the bounce and bring back to the stumps for the stumping. Again keep your body inside the line of the ball.
3. Practice Drill working with partner or Coach:
Introduce another partner to act as the batter, throw outside off stump with the batter playing and missing to simulate the stroke. Throw length balls and half volleys.
Same drill with the ball being thrown down the leg side now, batter does the same.
4. Practice Drill working with partner or Coach:
Advanced drill – Cutting down catching time.
To reduce the amount of time you pull the ball away from the stumps when catching it before stumping.
Repeat Drill 3, now aim to catch the ball as close as possible to the crease. This really takes some work and practice to develop the soft hands so to be able to give with the ball and get it back to the stumps.