Syed Mujtaba Hussein Kirmani, India’s best wicketkeeper ever, was born on 29 December 1949 at Chennai. A right-handed lower middle order batsman, he made his test debut in 1975-6 against New Zealand at Auckland and his one-day international debut in the same series at Christchurch. He was dropped from the Indian team after the tour Down Under in 1985-6.
Kirmani played 88 tests scoring 2,759 runs at an average of 27.04, scoring two hundreds and claimed 160 catches and 38 stumpings. In 49 one-day internationals, he scored 373 runs, held 27 catches and affected 9 stumpings.
Though Kirmani wasn’t as flamboyant as his predecessors, Engineer or Kunderan, he was very efficient as far as keeping to the famous spin quartet was concerned. Later having to deal with the pace of Kapil Dev and others who followed, he proved his worth in the World Cup of 1983, when he kept wickets brilliantly besides contributing with the bat.
Kirmani, employed with the State Bank of India, was a national selector till a few months ago. He also runs a cricket coaching academy in Bangalore.