In fact, they had a player called Jonty Rhodes, who according to his captain Hansie Cronje – was picked into playing eleven only for his fielding.. whatever runs he made was ONLY a bonus. Other International teams tried to find such fielders in their teams as well and now -in 2016, nearly every team has got two or three fielders who are nearly as good as that man used to be. In fact, players like Ashish Nehra and VVS Laxman are not given a berth in Indian team only because their fielding is not where it needs to be… And then we have the example of Mohammad Kaif, who was given chance after chance to end his bad form because he is a brilliant fielder.
1. A. AB de Villiers :
The most favourable point with South African youngsters is that no matter how good cricketer they are, they all play a game called RUGBY which is meant for diving and sliding on grass. This makes them learn the art of being flexible and that is how nearly all South African cricketers are very good fielders. AB de Villiers admits that he was as good a cricket player as he was in Rugby but he loved cricket more and that’s why it took it professionally. An equally good wicket keeper, who is still waiting for Mark Boucher to make way, AB de Villiers plays as a batsman in south African team and saves at least 5 runs per innings. You must watch him next time when you get a chance..!!
2. Lou Vincent :
The RUGBY advantage is with New Zealand as well, who probably has the best team in that sport. And Lou Vincent – the New Zealand middle order/ Opening batsman has such reflexes which will amaze you. New Zealand is a country which plays least amount of International cricket and that’s why not many people know about this brilliant fielder.
3. Paul Collingwood :
I was stuck with 7 names out of whom I had to select five for top 5 positions. The first one to miss out is Paul Collingwood, who is England’s best fielder. He is playing International cricket for some time now but never was as stable in England team as he is now. And thus, his fielding abilities are showing. The only problem I see with this “very good” fielder is his team – England, who are a very bad ODI team. One day Internationals are the cricket games where your real fielding abilities are tested and since England concentrate on TEST MATCHES only, Cricket World fails to see this man’s abilities..!!
4. Yuvraj Singh :
Now you may not agree with me here as I don’t give a place to India’s “backward point” fielder but as I said, I was stuck with 7 names and two had to miss out. Yuvraj has amazing reflexes and probably is the 6th best fielder in the World right now, but to me, where he lack is fitness. To be a man who will run around the field for 50 overs and then bat for 25-30 overs is not an easy job and this is where Yuvraj misses just by a whisker though
5. Tillakaratne Dilshan:
No body noticed but this man is now nearly 30 years old and has been playing International cricket for 7 years. Sri Lanka is a team which may not bat as well, may not bowl as well when they are on tour, but they are a brilliant fielding side and Tillakaratne Dilshan leads the way. He fields at backward point to seamers and then at mid wicket to spinners (which Sri Lanka has in plenty).
Every match that I see of Sri Lanka, this man nearly always effects a run-out and this prompted me to name him as our No. 5 best fielder.
6. Herschelle Gibbs:
Remember 1999 South Africa vs Australia league match at Headingley?? Australia were 48 for 3 while chasing a target of 272, and that’s when Herschelle Gibbs dropped the (easy) catch of Australian captain – Steve Waugh. In fact, Gibbs was trying to toss the ball in air with job of getting 4th wicket for South African when the ball slipped from his hands and Steve Waugh survived. He said – “You just dropped you World Cup mate”…. and went on to make 120 not out off 110 balls with 10 fours and 2 sixes.
If you notice now, after 7 years hence, Gibbs never tosses the ball after taking a catch. But this doesn’t make this brilliant fielder from grabbing the No.4 spot in this list of best International fielders.
7. Mohammad Kaif:
There is not much between Kaif and Yuvraj for Indian cricket lovers but I have given him this No. 3 spot because this man is a must for Indian team when it comes to fielding. He may not take breath taking catches as Yuvraj does, and may not make big scores as Sachin does, but every team has to field for 50 overs and that is when Kaif becomes indispensable. Watch him playing a match and you will know his worth and his will for fielding virtually every ball.
8. Andrew Symonds:
This is where Kevin Pietersen should take inspiration from. Both Pietersen and Symonds have huge structure but Symonds is at least 4 times more flexible and anticipates the ball lot better. Watching him field in any match against my TEAM INDIA, I wonder how are we gonna pass this monster..!!
9. Ricky Ponting:
It’s Australian attitude to attack the opposition captain in any cricket series. They believe that if they can demoralize the captain, whole opposition team feels down and victory becomes easy. And they pay huge attention that same thing doesn’t happen with them. And thus, Ricky Ponting is their captain, who not only makes big big runs, but takes one of the best and toughest catches in cricket today.
In an interview, Ponting said – “I knew I was not a good enough bowler. But I always wanted to be involved in the whole game. and that is why I have been working on my fielding right from the days I picked up my bat”.