It is always a feather in a wicketkeeper's cap to see those two little letters "st" next to his name in a scorecard. Taking catches is one thing - and not too difficult, it may seem to the casual observer, with those bucket-sized gloves. But to be sharp enough to capture an often turning ball and whip off the bails before a straying batsman can regain his ground is to show a true mastering of the keeper's art.
Not that all such notations in the card need necessarily reflect well on the man behind the stumps. Paul Nixon of Leicestershire, for instance, will be forever credited with removing Kent's Mark Ealham on Saturday, even though the ball actually bounced fortuitously on to the wicket off his pads.
Ealham may a trifle hard done by - although not nearly so much as the New Zealander, Martin Donnelly, playing for Warwickshire at Lord's in 1948, who thought he had survived various possible fates when a ball hit him on the foot, looped over his head and dropped well out of the keeper's grasp - only to spin back on to the wicket, apparently having landed in a bowler's footmark.Reuse content