Lanka has a good set-up says Kirmani
By Bilal Yusuf
Syed Kirmani arguably the best wicket-keeper batsman
to have played for India has figured in 88 test matches, has taken
160 catches and has 38 stumpings. He has scored 3000 runs, which
included two centuries. On his debut against New Zealand he became
the fourth man in the history of test cricket to take six victims
in a single innings. Kirmani was a member of the Indian team that
won the world Cup in 1983, and was also adjudged the best wicket-keeper
of the competition.
visited Sri Lanka recently with the Imthiaz Ahmed Academy junior
team, and took time to speak to "The Sunday Times" on
his short tour to the island.
What's your involvement with cricket at the moment?
A: I completed my stint as chairman of the selection committee
for the Indian team last month. At the moment I am waiting for other
assignments from the BCCI. I was also the chairman of the state
selection committee and a member of the executive committee as well.
I also serve as an advisor to the national cricket academy and various
other cricketing academies in the country. At the moment I am involved
with the State Bank of India where I am the assistant general manager
in the local head office of Bangalore.
In Sri Lanka we currently have seven members in the selection committee,
do you think this is too much?
A: Well I am not sure about Sri Lanka cricket's policy
matters and administrative guidelines. But I personally think seven
is too much. In India we have 5 members in the selection committee
in which each zone is represented by one member in the selection
committee. On certain occasions we feel even five members are too
much. So I would say that three members in the selection committee
would be an ideal number, since there is a common saying "too
many cooks spoil the soup".
What were the most memorable moments in your cricketing career?
A: Well I don't know where to begin and where to end. What
would probably top the list is winning the world cup in 1983. I
am sure no one in that team would like to forget, and then equalling
the world record for the most amount of dismissals in an innings
both in test and one day cricket. My two centuries against Australia
and England and many innings I played helped my country to win many
matches or save them from defeat. Being conferred upon by several
national awards was also a huge honour to me.
Any regrets in your career?
A: Yes, there were disappointments, but I wouldn't take
it as regrets. There is no point regretting since it will only affect
that person, I have always been positive in my outlook towards anything,
so I take everything in my stride and have no regrets in life. I
am a firm believer that whatever happens in life happens for the
How was the experience keeping to the three great spinners from
A: Keeping to them is what has made me to be recognized
as one of the world's best wicket-keepers. A wicket-keeper's ability
is judged when he stands up to spinners, not fast bowlers. We had
the three best spinners in world cricket Prassanna, Bedi and Chandrasekar
and to date nobody is near their dust. Chandrasekar was the fastest
leg spinner in the world. These three spinners were the best in
the world, so there was class and my wicket-keeping had to tally.
I was very fortunate to have kept wickets to their bowling.
Venkatragavan once accused you, that you deliberately dropped catches
off his bowling. What's the story behind this?
A: What happened was that Venkatragavan expressed this
to some of his friends who were also my friends. They conveyed this
to me. I was very disappointed when I heard this. How can any keeper
deliberately drop a catch or miss a stumping of anyone's bowling?
It will only affect that person's performance and may also get him
dropped from the team. There would have been the odd occasion I
missed a catch off his bowling. But that does not mean I missed
it deliberately. He thought that I use to deliberately drop catches
off his bowling and taking the catches off Prassana's bowling. Finding
fault with anyone is the meanest thing anyone can possibly do. Unfortunately
it was expressed and I thought it was a very unfair comment.
We all know Australia is the best team in the world. Who would you
rate as the second best team in world cricket?
A: England has been doing pretty well recently. Sri Lanka
have peen performing quite well and have got a very good set up.
So I would say England, Sri Lanka and India are probably the three
best teams in world cricket after Australia.
What's your opinion on sledging?
A: I have never sledged in my playing days, there were
the occasions I gave back after taking a lot of flak from the opposition,
I have never intimidated players behind the stumps and do not endorse
it. In the current era players have to be fined for misbehaving
on the field. This is supposed to be gentlemen's game. What a shame!
With the cameras being focused on almost every move a player makes
we see other ungentlemanly mannerisms like digging the nose, chewing
their nails and licking the ball. Maybe we will have to have fines
in the future for digging the nose, what terrible habits! (laughs).
Sri Lanka are currently playing Sangakkara as their wicket-keeper
and getting him to bat at number 3, as a former wicket-keeper do
you think the workload is too much for him?
A: If he is given the confidence by the coach and captain
and has the confidence and mental toughness to perform both roles
I do not see a problem. Negative talk such as its too tiring to
bat up in the order and keep wickets would only hamper his performance.
So if he has the confidence to do the job I don't see any reason
not to get him in perform both roles.