Regarding the Kumble controversy

Last week, Kumble was issued a notice by the BCCI for talking to the media about selection committee meetings. Kumble’s “crime” was telling the Mumbai Mirror that he insisted on two specialist keepers in the party.

Leaving the controversy alone, my hunch is that the selectors might have insisted on Parthiv Patel being the lone keeper on tour, thanks to his excellent batting in the last Ranji championship (albeit in the Plate League). Even if Patel has improved, the only thing Kumble remembers of him I think is the Sydney test in 2004, when he kept missing stumping after easy stumping, which was ultimately partly responsible for India failing to win the test and the series (Bucknor was the other reason).

In contrast, even if he gave away a record number of byes in his last test, Dinesh Kaarthick has generally kept well to Kumble and co. The general opinion is that he’s a better keeper than Dhoni, who usually gets the nod for his superior batting. I remember that during the last tour of England, every day Siddhartha Vaidyanathan used to write an article in Cricinfo demanding that Dhoni be dropped.

It is quite clear that Kumble significantly prefers Kaarthick’s keeping to Patel’s, and Kaarthick is also a competent batsman having played a significant number of his tests as a specialist batsman. And when the selectors wanted to pick Patel over him, Kumble reasoned that the best way to keep Patel outside of the area behind the stumps was to also get in Kaarthick into the squad.

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