Top 5 wicketkeepers from England
England is the oldest cricket-playing nation in the world and the history of the game in the country dates back to the 17th century. As such, the country has also produced some of the finest cricketers in modern international cricket and continues to do so to this day.
Among them, there have been plenty of wicket-keepers who have represented the country with distinction throughout their career, and will always be remembered for being pioneers in their own right.
The national team have almost always had decent and dependable wicket-keepers but at the same time, some of them have been exceptional and deserve special mention. So, here is a brief look at 5 of the best wicket-keepers to have represented England in the country's cricketing history.
#5 Bob Taylor
Nicknamed 'chat' for his friendly nature and readiness to speak at length to perfect strangers, Bob Taylor was one of England's most accomplished wicket-keepers. Although he was an excellent wicket-keeper, he found it tough to get into the side due to the presence of Alan Knott (more on him later), but once he went to play the World Series of Cricket, Taylor got his big break.
In a career that spanned 13 years, Taylor played 57 Tests, claiming 167 catches and 7 stumpings. He played 27 one-dayers for England as well, in which he managed 26 catches and 6 stumpings.
Had he been born in a different era, he would have played many more games but his legacy as one of England's best wicket-keepers is beyond doubt.
#4 Matt Prior
Matt Prior was the wicket-keeper of one of the finest England teams in the modern era and his was a reassuring presence behind the stumps. Prior was very tidy behind the stumps and had the ability to rally his troops with constant chats.
Moreover, he kept wickets to some of England's finest bowlers in recent years. Graeme Swann, James Anderson, and Stuard Broad posed different sets of challenges and Prior was up to the task every time.
In 79 Tests, he took 243 catches and completed 13 stumpings. He did not play as many ODIs because of his struggles as a batsman but in 68 of those, he managed 79 dismissals (71 catches/8 stumpings).
#3 Alec Stewart
Known for his stroke-filled batting, Alec Stewart was one of the pillars of English cricket during the dark days of the 1990s and he will go down as one of the country's best wicket-keepers.
In the 133 Test matches that he played, he kept wickets in 82 and claimed 241 (227 catches/14 stumpings) dismissals. In one-dayers, he has 163 dismissals to his name. Stewart was an extremely dependable wicket-keeper and had the ability to read the game well from behind the stumps, which often made the bowlers' task easier.
In addition to that, he was an extremely fit cricketer and continued to keep wickets till he was 40. With Stewart behind the stumps, English bowlers never worried about catches being dropped.
#2 Godfrey Evans
Godfrey Evans played 91 Test matches for England between 1946 and 1959, and those who watched him play often said that he was the greatest wicket-keeper of all time. Hence, his status as one of the best English wicket-keepers ever is not up for debate.
His natural athleticism behind the stumps was revolutionary in itself. Evans was known to possess strong powers of concentration, and his raw reflexes made the toughest of catches look easy.
In 91 Test matches, he recorded 173 catches and 46 stumpings and kept wickets to bowlers like Alec Bedser, Maurice Tate, Fred Trueman and Jim Laker among others.
#1 Alan Knott
As far as great English wicket-keepers are concerned, Alan Knott stands head and shoulders above everyone else. He is not only England's finest wicket-keeper, but also one of the best 'keepers to have ever played the game.
He played 95 Test matches for England, but it could have been much more had he not signed up for World Series Cricket. In those games, he took 250 catches and effected 19 stumpings. Knott had the innate gift of anticipation and he also possessed excellent technique.
The way he kept to the unpredictable Derek Underwood was a case in point. Underwood bowled quicker than most spinners and was rather unpredictable, however, Knott never put a foot wrong while standing up to the stumps when he was bowling. This held true when he kept to the fast bowlers as well.