It’s time to focus on the wicket keepers – those who have turned matches with a brilliant bit of glovework behind the stumps. Here is a list of keepers with the most stumpings in tests.
Which Wicket Keeper has the most Stumpings in Tests?
The player with the most stumpings in test cricket is W.A.S. Oldfield with 52 victims.
Oldfield played in 54 matches for Australia between 1920 and 1937 and he therefore claimed almost one stumping in every test. He once took four stumpings in a test innings which is more than anyone else in the top ten.
Top 10 Most Stumpings in Test Cricket
WAS Oldfield – Australia – 52
More commonly known as Bertie Oldfield, Australia’s main wicket keeper for much of the 1930s claimed those 52 victims in 101 test match innings.
That’s a rate of just under one every game and, as we’ll see when we work through this list, that’s a very impressive ratio. Oldfield was reliable with the gloves in all aspects and he would also claim 78 catches for a total of 130 dismissals overall.
TG Evans – England – 46
Godfrey Evans was largely unchallenged as England’s first choice wicket keeper in a test career that lasted from 1946 to 1959. He played 91 matches in that time and would claim 46 stumping victims to put himself in second place on this list.
Some also say that Evans was the forerunner of the modern-day wicket keeper with his energy and boundless enthusiasm. He was certainly one of the best of all time and, added to that list of 46 stumpings are 173 catches.
Syed Kirmani – India – 38
India’s most regular keeper for just over a decade was Syed Kirmani. He made his debut in 1976 and played his final test in 1986, and he claimed 38 stumping victims in that time.
He would have stood up to some exceptional spin bowlers who knew that they had a reliable gloveman behind the stumps. Kirmani also took 160 catches in tests and his useful batting brought two centuries in this format.
MS Dhoni – India – 38
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was an explosive batter and a great leader of India, so we sometimes forget just how effective he was behind the stumps. Dhoni also took 38 stumpings, but the fact that he played 90 tests to Syed Kirmani’s 88 puts him narrowly behind in fourth place.
Dhoni’s all-round contributions are underlined by the fact that he scored six test hundreds, but this is all about his keeping. MSD also took no fewer than 256 catches and he’s first on the list of captains who kept wicket with 60 appearances.
Adam Gilchrist – Australia – 37
Adam Gilchrist is the second Australian to appear on this list with 37 stumpings which came in 96 tests. For much of his career, Gilchrist would have been keeping to the great Shane Warne and he needed to be a competent reader of his fiendish leg spin.
Gilchrist also needed to adjust to the quicker bowlers and he adds 379 catches to his list of victims. The total of 416 puts him second on the list of fielding dismissals in test cricket.
P Jayawardene – Sri Lanka – 32
Sri Lanka’s Prasanna Jayawardene had to be patient in his early career. He was a fine wicket keeper but Kumar Sangakkara’s superior batting kept him out of the side. Many felt that Jayawardene should have played more tests than his total of 58 between 2000 and 2015.
When we remember that he had to keep to the brilliant Muttiah Muralitharan, his tally of 32 stumpings from those 58 games is a seriously impressive one.
Ian Healy – Australia – 29
Ian Healy would have also kept to Shane Warne while Australia also used to employ Tim May’s off spin during this period. Healy kept wicket in 119 test matches between 1988 and 1999 and he finished his career with 29 stumpings.
Healy also took 366 catches in that time and his total of 395 test victims was a record until it was overtaken by Adam Gilchrist.
Niroshan Dickwella – 27
He’s the only man on this list to still be playing the game as of 2022, so we can expect Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella to climb a little further. He’s largely known outside of Sri Lanka for his enthusiastic appealing, but he’s clearly a very fine wicket keeper.
In his first 53 test matches, Dickwella took 27 stumpings and that’s an exceptional ratio. As an interesting aside, he’s also second on the list of most test runs without a century at the time of writing.
Wasim Bari – Pakistan – 27
Pakistan’s Wasim Bari also has 27 test stumpings, but it took him much longer to get there. He does, however, hold a more distinctive return of seven catches in a single innings.
Against New Zealand in 1979, he caught seven of the first eight batters. This was a world record at the time – although it has since been equalled by three other keepers.
Coming back to his stumpings, those 27 victims came in 81 tests between 1967 and 1984.
R Kaluwitharana – Sri Lanka – 26
Romesh Kaluwitharana will always be remembered for his daredevil batting which helped Sri Lanka to win the 1996 World Cup. He is another player whose wicket keeping has been forgotten to an extent, but he was also highly effective behind the stumps.
In 49 tests for his country, Kaluwitharana claimed 26 stumpings and that’s impressive for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a high ratio and it should also be remembered that he had to keep to the mystery spin of a certain Muttiah Muralitharan.
It’s interesting to see that the men at the very top of this list date from an earlier era. Bertie Oldfield played in the infamous Bodyline series of 1932/33 while Godfrey Evans’ career lasted between 1946 and 1959.
Others have joined the top ten, but nobody has been able to catch the men at the top as yet. Could that be because more teams rely on genuine pace bowling these days? Has the trend of employing batters who can keep, as opposed to specialist wicket keepers, had an effect on the list?
Those are tricky questions to answer, but let’s see if anyone can catch the top stumpers in the years to come.