Syed Kirmani is a former Indian cricketer widely renowned as one of the greatest wicketkeepers of India. Besides wicketkeeping, he was also a handy lower-order batter. He helped India to win many historic matches during the 1970s and 80s.
Syed Kirmani was born on Sunday, 29 December 1949 (age 72 years; as of 2021) in Madras (now Chennai). His zodiac sign is Capricorn. The first time, he started playing cricket was at the age of 11. At that time, he use to do wicketkeeping with the bricks that acted as a glove. In an interview, he revealed that the captain approached him and told him to stand behind the stumps and stop the ball. Further, he said,
“Now, how do I stop the cork ball? There were bricks lying there. I picked one up and started stopping the ball with it. The bricks would break and I would get a scolding from the contractors who were constructing buildings there.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Hair Colour: Bald
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information available about his parents & siblings.
Wife & Children
Syed Kirmani is married to Habiba Kirmani in the year 1979. Habiba Kirmani is an educationist and philanthropist.
The couple is blessed with one son and two daughters. The name of his son is Sadiq Kirmani who is a domestic-level cricketer.
His daughter, Nishad Fatima Kirmani is an educator for special children.
Syed Kirmani follows the Islam religion.
He made his test debut on 24 January 1976 against Pakistan in Auckland
He made his ODI debut on 21 February 1976 against New Zealand at Christchurch
- Third most stumpings in a Test Cricket (38)
- Fifth most dismissals in an innings (6)
- The first wicketkeeper to take five wickets behind the stumps in World Cups.
- Highest 7th wicket partnership for India in a Test match along with Ravi Shastri
- Only Indian to score a century as a night watchman
Total Dismissals- 198
Dismissal per Inning (D/I)- 1.311
One Day Internationals
Total Dismissals- 36
Dismissal per Inning (D/I)- 0.75
Not Outs- 22
Runs Scored- 2759
Highest Score- 102
One Day Internationals
Not Outs- 13
Runs Scored- 373
Highest Score- 48*
Balls Faced- 616
Strike Rate- 60.55
- S0uth Zone
- Rest of India (ROI)
- Central Zone
- Indian Board President’s XI
- AL Wadekar’s XI
- Kerala Chief Minister’s XI
- State Bank of India
- Andhra Chief Minister’s XI
- Vazir Sultan Tobacco Colts XI
After playing various matches at the school level, he was inducted into the Ranji team for the Mysore side (now Karnataka). He first appeared in international cricket as the reserved wicketkeeper for India during its tour to England in 1971 under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar in place of absent Farokh Engineer who was busy on Lancashire duty. However, he didn’t get the chance to feature in the playing eleven during the series. He got his maiden international cap in place of Farokh Engineer in 1976.
In the second inning of that match, he was included in the dismissal of six batters behind the stumps. He took the catches of New Zealand’s captain Glenn Turner, Richard Hadlee, and Richard Collinge of the bowling of Mohinder Amarnath, Ken Wadsworth, and Dayle Hadlee of the bowling of Madan Lal. He also scored 305 runs in that series with an impressive average of 65.33. In 1978, he lost his form and was left out of the squad for the 1979 Cricket World Cup. He was replaced by Bharath Reddy and Surinder Khanna who couldn’t perform well in that mega tournament. Sunil Gavaskar was also sacked from the captaincy of India. In an interview, Kirmani revealed that Gundappa Viswanath was the person who came to him with rolling tears and told him that you are not in a team. At that time, he worked hard on his fitness and nurtured his keeping skills. He came back strongly into the side in a match against Australia in 1979 and scored 101 not out as a night watchman. In the succeeding Australian tour, in the third test, Australia was chasing a modest target of 143 runs. Kirmani then stumped their main batter Graeme Wood from the leg side. This stumping impressed commentator Richie Benaud so much that he remarked,
“This is the best leg-side stumping, I have seen in my life!”
In the next series against Pakistan, he took 17 catches behind the stumps and equalled the record for most dismissals in a series as a wicketkeeper. Before that, it was held by India’s Naren Tamhane. In the following tournament, he didn’t concede any runs off the bye in the entire series against England in 1979-80 where almost 1964 runs were scored. He was equally good with the bat as well. He held the record partnership of 146 runs for the ninth wicket along with Sunil Gavaskar during a Madras Test against West Indies in 1983.
1983 Cricket World Cup
Then came the 1983 World Cup, wherein a match against Zimbabwe, when the Indian batting order collapsed. Kirmani contributed 126 runs for the ninth wicket along with Kapil Dev. This partnership proved vital and India went on to win that match by 31 runs to stay alive in the series. He also took five catches in that match. In the 1983 World Cup final, he took a diving catch to dismiss Faoud Bacchus while diving towards the first slip. This catch earned him the award for being the best wicketkeeper in the tournament by England’s greatest wicketkeepers Godfrey Evans.
In 1984-85, a series against England was held where Kirmani scored 102 runs off 210 balls that took India’s score to a lead of 270 runs and helped India to win that match. In the Australian tour of 1985-86, Kirmani got injured while taking a catch of Allan Border which forced him to remain on the bench for the rest of the series. He didn’t play in any of the international matches after that but continued to play in the domestic circuit for Railways.
After retiring, he worked as a vice-president of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), the chairman of the National Selection Committee in 2004, and as the Public Relations Manager in the State Bank of India (SBI).
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Best Sportsperson of the Year, by the Karnataka Government in 1968
- Arjuna Award, by the Government of India in 1980
- Padma Shri Award, by the Government of India in 1982
- Ekalavya Award by the Governor of Karnataka in 1992
- Rajiv Vikas Ratan Award by the International Friendship Society of India in
- Col CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award on 5 January 2016
- Cricketer: Bob Taylor
- Singer: Mohammad Rafi
- He has taken only one wicket in his entire international career which came against Pakistan in 1983-84 at Vidarbha Cricket Ground.
- His daughter is married to a former Indian cricketer’s Abid Ali son.
- He has done a cameo role in a Bollywood movie ‘Kabhi Ajnabi The’ in 1985 alongside his teammate Sandeep Patil. Besides this, he has also done roles in many Kannada films.
- Kirmani has a huge role to play in MS Dhoni inclusion in Ranji matches when he was an East Zone selector. After his splendid performance in the domestic circuit, Kirmani selected him on the recommendation of Pranab Roy, his co-selector of East Zone.
- On 24 December 2021, a movie named ’83’ was released where Sahil Khattar is playing the role of Syed Kirmani.