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To squat or not: Why are wicketkeepers maintaining redundant positions?

Peter Handscomb has big gloves to fill. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Roar Pro
5th January, 2017
11
1122 Reads

Seeing young Peter Handscomb taking over the wicketkeeping duties for the ill Matthew Wade illustrated why two of cricket’s great traditions are completely outdated.

Firstly, despite the amazing development in protective gear available to be worn, the majority of modern wicketkeepers still wear bulky pads on the outside of their pants.

Even though the pads of today are lightweight, they are bulky and, in theory, must restrict movement.

Fielders at short-leg or silly mid-off don’t wear outside pads, they wear a version of shin guards, under their pants. If they were judged to be ineffective, they would be wearing the bulky pads to protect their lower legs.

Fieldsmen at short-leg and silly mid-off are considerably closer to the batting action than the keeper. So why wear the pads?

It was wonderful to see Handscomb, a member of the modern generation, wearing the shin guards.

If the answer, concerning the wearing of pads by the keeper, is that they were useful in stopping the ball by using your legs, then I would suggest that they need to look for a new keeper.

Secondly, why do keepers squat down as the bowler runs in? What biomechanical purpose does it serve?

If it is good enough for the slips cordon to stand upright, knees slightly flexed, why would a keeper elect to squat, other than that’s the way it’s always been done?

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Handscomb doesn’t squat or wear leg-pads, yet his keeping was impressive. He has kept for Victoria approximately 15 times.

Let’s move with the times. With all the team assistants and advisor attached to Cricket Australia, it is time that a biomechanical specialist or human movement PhD student analyses the advantage or otherwise of the squatting position in relation to wicketkeeping activity.

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