India captain MS Dhoni's wicketkeeping not being up to his usual standard in the ongoing India versus England test series has elicited some concern.
Syed Kirmani, former Indian wicketkeeper, reckons Dhoni's performances behind the wicket in the ongoing Test series against England haven't been up to scratch. He isn't as good a gloveman as he was before, Kirmani believes.
"As the years pass, the performance of an individual peaks. I suppose this is what Dhoni is going through right now with his wicketkeeping, he isn't quite as outstanding anymore," the former Indian keeper told ESPNCricinfo.
Kirmani believes Dhoni could do with a break. to recharge his batteries. This may enable Dhoni's form to return.
"Form will come automatically, it is only a matter of rest for these players of the current era. With the hectic schedule, there is no time for rest," Kirmani added.
Dhoni does seem out of sorts as a keeper in the present series. In the Lord's test in an apparent error in judgement he did not attempt to take a catch as a Gary Ballance edge off Stuart Binny went for a four after slipping through him and first slip Shikhar Dhawan. It was evident that the Indian skipper should have tried to take the catch. Furthermore Dhoni, in the two tests, has given away 24 byes, a reflection of his floundering performance.
Dhoni wasn't going about collecting the ball the right way, Kirmani, who played 88 tests for India, was of the opinion.
"You don't collect anything over the shoulder or over the waist in this fashion," said the former keeper as he provided a demonstration of how he felt Dhoni was making mistakes. Kirmani reckoned Dhoni should not collect the ball with the fingers facing the ball.
"That is not the right technique," Kirmani added.
This method was, however, working for Dhoni, the former Indian keeper pointed out.
The Ballance miss occurred due to confusion as both the first slip fielder and Dhoni were unsure who would attempt to take the catch, according to Kirmani.
"First slip always is a little behind the wicketkeeper, Dhoni could have gone for it. But both of them thought the other would go for it and that's where the ball went, in between them. We can't point to agility, reflexes or movement of a player in this case," pointed out Kirmani.
Dhoni's decision to stand well behind the stumps to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took all and sundry by surprise. Farokh Engineer, former India keeper and batsman, did not think much of the move.
"Standing back to Ravindra Jadeja didn't make sense at all.There were times when the other fielder behind the wickets, Virat Kohli, was standing next to Dhoni and it looked like there were two wicketkeepers in there. I have never seen anything like this in international cricket. It was baffling and mind boggling," NDTV Sports quoted Engineer.
The sixties and seventies gloveman too thought Dhoni's keeping could see improvement. "He is a far better wicketkeeper than he showed at Lord's," he said.
How could Dhoni make the corrections as keeper? Observing where he was committing these errors on videos would be the right way to go about for Dhoni, advised Kirmani.
"Go the way you have been going, you will improve automatically. Look at the video footage of where you have made mistakes to know where you stand and where you need to improve. You have the benefit of technology, coaches, support staff, so make full use of that," he said.