Nurul Hasan has been considered the best wicketkeeper in Bangladesh for quite some time now. The right-handed batter's ability as a keeper is second to none and he has proved his mettle in both domestic and international circuit. In an exclusive chat with Cricbuzz Nurul opened about his keeping philosophy and how a little advice from MS Dhoni changed his keeping perception.
How did you become a keeper?
I have been keeping wickets from my childhood. I used to play tennis-ball cricket with seniors and because I was a child I could not run fast like seniors and that's why I used to do keeping. When I started practicing with the cricket ball I started as a keeper but the ball used to hit my face and body very frequently. That's why I tried my hands at pace bowling for a while and even played an Under-13 cricket league in Khulna as a pace bowler. But Khulna academy coach late Sheikh Salahuddin sir and Monir sir advised me to switch back to keeping and since then I am a wicketkeeper.
Keeping has often been considered a 'thankless job'. Your thoughts?
Obviously keeping is a thankless job. A keeper can miss a catch or fielding and this is part of the game. But there's a lot of noise when a keeper misses a catch, because a keeper has gloves. A normal fielder doesn't need to concentrate on every ball and he can relax but a keeper has to concentrate on every ball. They have to concentrate on 120 plus balls in T20 or 300 plus balls in ODI cricket and the whole day in Test matches but despite everything if he misses something it becomes a big issue.
How do you regain focus after missing a catch or a stumping opportunity?
It is usual to feel disappointed when you put down catches or miss a stumping. But as a keeper if I only focus on my mistakes then I can't concentrate on the next ball and there is a 90% chance to miss the next one. So I have to forget my previous mistakes. Recently, I never think about my mistakes because I believe I will cover the mistakes with a brilliant catch or stumping in the remaining part of the game. For me, when I miss a catch or stumping, I become more serious to make up for my mistake with an unbelievable catch or stumping.
Once you said that MS Dhoni played a big part in transforming your keeping. Tell us the story behind it...
Actually, we learn from an early age that we should stay down till the ball is pitched and get up after the ball hits the surface as it minimizes risk of dropping the ball. But for me the most important thing is to keep an eye on the ball. It will be easier for me when I can know the movement of the ball. Ball can turn on spin-friendly wickets or can swing and it can catch the edge of the bat, so it's important to understand in which way the ball can move before pitching. I also took some advice from MS Dhoni about keeping because Dhoni was the first keeper from Asia to change the traditional ways of keeping. I met with Dhoni in the Asia Cup and Champions Trophy and we spoke about keeping. I agree with his logic that it's important to see the ball till the last moment and understand the ball's movement. In a simple way I can say it's just about being proactive. The ball can beat a batter anytime. I must think from behind the stumps about the bowling movement because when the ball beats a batter, there is less time for a keeper to cover the ball.