The legside stumping is one of cricket's finest sights. I know as a former wicketkeeper I’m biased, but it’s a skill that turns games. It’s achievable by all keepers if these sound rules are followed:
1. You can't catch what you can’t see
Many keepers see the ball going down the legside and head off blindly to take the ball without gathering enough information. The result is that they get stuck behind the line of the batter and then we see a pair of gloves appear from behind the batsman grabbing blindly at thin air.
Stay on the offside of the batter for as long as possible in order to gather the information that tells you of where the ball will be at ball take. Then you aren't guessing when you move down the legside. You move across smoothly and with confidence, the ball nestles in the gloves.
2. Panther-like lateral movement
Move across to the legside of the batter using a low movement pattern (like a hunting panther) keeping your head and hands low enabling you to come up with the bounce of the ball. As we stated last week, 80% of balls that are missed go under the line of the hands and this low movement will help to ensure that you don't add to the statistic.
3. Should you use a one step or two step movement to move across?
Shorter keepers tend to use two steps to move across, this provides them with an anchor position where their inside foot is close to the Leg Stump and provides a base for movement back into the stumps to take the bails. Tall keepers have the option of using the one step movement patterns and use their leg length to slide their foot across early whilst staying off side of the batter with their head.
Rob Turner, the Ex-Somerset Keeper used this technique brilliantly when standing up to Mushtaq Ahmed
4. Create a base at ball take
If the keeper is balanced at ball take then she is able to push back into the stumps and take the bails. Balance is achieved by having a minimum of shoulder width base with your feet at ball take and having your head, hands and feet in line.
Often, when a keeper is losing balance you will note that their feet are too close together and create a narrow base that forces the keeper to topple over away from the stumps. This naturally reduces the chance of taking the bails or makes the movement back into the stumps a stretched one: widen the base to increase the control, stability and the number of stumping opportunities.
5. You have more time than you think
With a strong base and an anchor position, the keeper is in great shape to whip the bails of and complete the leg-side stumping.
I never missed a stumping because I was too slow at getting the bails off. However, I missed plenty because I didn't have the ball in my hands! Many keepers are so keen to take the bails off that they leave the ball behind. Enjoy the take and move smoothly to take the bails; you always have more time than you think.
Follow these 5 leg-side take points and consistency, control and success will quickly follow. Let me know when that leg-side stumping count starts to rise.