The position of wicket keeper is a unique one and is more skilled than people sometimes realise. A good wicket keeper is an invaluable asset, and if that is the kind of asset you want to become, there are a few things you can do to sharpen your abilities.
Practice Does Make Perfect
Wicket keeping is possibly the single least-practiced position on the cricket field. A few practice catches over the course of a minute or two before the game seems to be the level of effort that most wicket keepers find it necessary to put forth. This is unfortunate because the position of wicket keeper is different from any other place on the field, and it is not something that you can just slide into and expect to perform perfectly. If you intend to be a wicket keeper, practice your skills in that position just as you would practice bowling or batting.
Know Your Own Importance
The wicket keeper is also a much more important figure than most people give it credit for and even more than a lot of wicket keepers realise themselves. When it comes to leading the team, the role they play is not so very far below that of the captain. They are responsible for keeping the team focussed and providing encouragement on both the team and individual level, even if it’s just shouting words of praise when things are done well.
Being the wicket keeper also puts you in a position to see a lot of things that other members of the team will miss. Make sure you take advantage of this, and communicate the information you gather with the captain.
The Right Equipment
Wicket keeping equipment is vital if you want to perform well when playing in this position. It works on two levels. First, the right gear – particularly gloves – will help you to perform better. Second, proper safety equipment is absolutely vital for somebody whose job is to regularly be right in the path of the ball.
The way you make use of your equipment can also make a big difference. For example, consider taking returns with only one glove on. This will enable you to more quickly and accurately turn around and throw the ball again. This ties back into the matter of practice. When honing your skills as a wicket keeper through training, you may want to specifically practice taking catches and throwing down stumps with one glove on and one glove off.
Standing Up and Standing Back
Standing up has become increasingly popular among wicket keepers in recent years, but it is not always the best option. Knowing when to do so and when to stand back is invaluable. For example, when batsmen are feeling the pressure, standing up can intensify that pressure. When the ball is unpredictable, on the other hand, standing back will put you in a better position to make a difficult catch in the best possible way.