Fantasy Cricket Strategy: Wicket-keepers

MS Dhoni

There have been players over the history of cricket who were both wicket-keepers and reasonably-capable batsmen, however it wasn’t until Australian Adam Gilchrist burst onto the scene that the need for batting wicket-keepers became almost mandatory.

Gilchrist was by no means the first, but he was the most consistent and one of the fastest-scoring batsmen in world cricket. The fact he could bat so brilliantly afforded the Australian side the opportunity to select an extra specialist bowler.

While Gilchrist remains unrivalled, there has been a flurry of batting-keepers around the world, which in conjunction with all-rounders, has seen teams become more versatile than ever before.

In daily fantasy sports they are even more important, because they are essentially an extra all-rounder in your fantasy team. You are limited to between one and three all-rounders in most fantasy cricket games, so being allowed to have a fourth player who can score in multiple ways is a great advantage.

The big advantage of having a batting-keeper is that they regularly score well in the field, picking up points in big blocks for catches and stumpings. Then they add extra points for runs scored while batting.

In recent times, many wicket-keepers are used at the top of the batting order which is critical for fantasy scoring in both ODI and T20 formats.

Batting wicket-keepers are immensely valuable in Test cricket too where there are a lot of dismissals caught behind the wicket. A good keeper will usually bat in the middle order and have plenty of opportunity to score runs like any batsman.

It helps to do your research on wicket-keepers too, as some tend to get more catches and stumpings than others. In India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh there are a large number of stumpings due to the spin-friendly conditions and array of highly-talented spin bowlers. Compare that to Australia, England or New Zealand where seam and swing is at a premium, and the quality fast bowling attacks tend to get more catches behind the wicket.