Traditionally, wicket-keepers were chosen in international Test sides primarily because of their wicket-keeping abilities. Wicket-keeping is regarded as the most strenuous fielding position, due not only to its physical demands but also its mental and psychological ones, and teams would therefore choose wicket-keepers based first on their merits with the gloves. This caused Test nations to select players who could specialise in wielding the gloves. This type of specialisation would often lead to these players focusing less on their batting.
In the 1990s, teams started fielding wicket-keepers who were especially talented batsmen. This trend began largely with Adam Gilchrist, who was Australia's wicket-keeper in Tests and ODIs. After his example, the top cricketing teams and aspiring wicket-keepers saw the extraordinary value wicket-keeper-batsmen could have for a side. Other batsmen who followed Gilchrist's example and have since been fully integrated into their national sides as top wicket-keeper-batsmen include Andy Flower, MS Dhoni, Brendon McCullum, Mark Boucher, Dinesh Karthik, Quinton de Kock, Jos Buttler, Kumar Sangakkara, Mohammad Rizwan and Rishabh Pant, as well as Alyssa Healy and Sarah Taylor.
In the modern game, wicket-keepers are often expected to contribute as much with the bat as middle-order batsmen might be.
Notably, some international players selected mostly for their batting skills have been asked to keep for short periods of time. Ambati Rayudu, A. B. de Villiers, Jonny Bairstow, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rahul Dravid, Marcus Trescothick, KL Rahul, Beth Mooney etc. are among such occasional wicket-keepers.
In the 2010s, more teams pick multiple wicketkeeper-batsmen to over more depth on both batting and fielding, with the players not wearing the gloves fielding from slips to mid-on, bat-pad or even as an outfielder. Some of them could be ageing former wicketkeepers that can no longer crouch and withstand the rigours of being wicketkeepers, or young keepers with poorer wicketkeeping skills compared to the incumbents, but still good enough to function elsewhere on the field on top of being able batsmen.
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