The leg side stumping is a sure fire way to change the momentum of a game.
It's a pressured delivery from the bowler that then gets a wicket from a ball slung down legside! All of a sudden the feel of the match changes as a result of a swift bit of keeping brilliance.
There are a number of tips that I give keepers to increase their competence down the leg side and then to take that most beautiful dismissal:
Wait, gather information
Many keepers move down the legside as soon as they see the ball heading that way and as a consequence miss out on some crucial information such as the ball starting to curve in the early part of flight.
The best keepers have a great knack of knowing where the ball is going to appear past the batters legs as they have slightly delayed their lateral movement until they have enough information.
I often get told, "but I don't have enough time to do that and get across". This tells me that there is a good chance that someone's starting position is not working for them rather than them not being able to wait for a split second before moving.
Move in a straight line
The shortest distance between Point A (starting position) and Point B (taking the leg-side ball) is a straight line. I see many keepers working off of this line and as a result the following things happen:
- Moving towards the stumps with the leading shoulder turning in as you move across. This has a tendency of closing the leading hand ahead of ball take which limits the catching area of the keeper for the all important take. The hips and shoulder turn and the ball often ricochets off of the thumb or in extreme cases off of the back of the outside hand
- Moving away from the stumps with the leading shoulder/hip pulling away from the stumps - this opens the leading hand and as a result the ball will often slide out of the outside hand or bounce off of the fingers causing bruises.
Moving along the line helps to square up the catching area, increasing the chance of catching the ball cleanly, reduces bruises and gives you a great chance of taking that show-stopping stumping
Speed up the hands going back to the bails
For every action, there is a reaction. Once the ball is in the gloves, kick your leading leg out away from the stumps. This is the ACTION that causes the hands to move swiftly back into the stumps at an accelerated rate (REACTION).
Your inside leg acts as the pivot point and creates balance.
Put all 3 tips together and the leg-side stumping that presently seems like a dream will soon become reality.