To start with, I do like test cricket as it requires a player to show patience, determination and it tests the skills of a player. Yesterday though, wasn't a great day for test cricket as it was devoid of a true contest. Pakistan's batsmen perhaps thought they were still playing street cricket and fell like a pack of cards to North's innocuous bowling to hand Australia an easy victory. Thankfully though, there was a wicketkeeper called Paine, who was able to raise above the mediocrity on show as he came up with a fine stumping of Butt. Yes, on the scoreboard it would be shown as a wicket for North, but the credit has to go to Paine for showing quick reflexes to send Butt back to the pavilion.
Now, let me frankly say that I don't know much about keeping as I have never been a keeper, but even I can say that in recent times, some of the keepers like Baugh, Akmal, Jones and now Kieswetter can't be called as wicket-keepers. All those players were selected as the selectors thought they can bat. Ironically, most of the above mentioned players failed as a batsman. Other keepers like Dhoni, Prior, McCullum and co. are just about average though, I feel that Dhoni and to an extent Prior have improved. I can only think of three keepers, who can be considered as good and they are, the veteran Boucher, P.Jayawerdena and our man Paine. Jaya only plays test matches and Paine is still the understudy to Haddin which leaves only Boucher, but he is coming to the end of his career and was recently dropped from the shorter formats of the game.
So, with so many mediocre keepers around, it was refreshing to see a fine piece of keeping by Paine. Actually, Paine has been impressive since he made his debut last year in England. He has good reflexes and I can't remember him giving away too many byes which is the hallmark of a good keeper. At present, Haddin is Australia's number one wicketkeeper as there is a perception that he is a better batsman though, Paine has already shown that he is no mug with the bat either. For instance, he did well in the second innings against Pakistan with Australia finding themselves in a spot of bother at 208 for 8.
Sometimes, I feel like disliking Gilly lol. Yes, he was no doubt a great player, but because of Gilly's success as a batsman, it has made other teams to look for keepers who can bat. In an attempt to find another Gilly, every tom, dick and harry is given a chance, but more often than not they end up as failures. I just hope that one-day selectors would realise finding another Gilly is a futile exercise and instead of dreaming about finding another Gilly, they would select good keepers like Paine!