Suresh Raina’s retirement received numerous tributes, especially on his fielding. Recently, in a conversation with Harsha Bhogle, Raina was asked from a list of 10 great fielders, which 5 would he choose to field in the inner circle.
This inspired us to do another post on World XI: With Twists, this time made up of the best cricket fielders in the world.
Today’s Twist – Catches Win Matches
Create a World XI consisting of the best fielders in the modern game. The twist is that these best fielders should be able to play together in a match. Hence, we need to have at least one player who could also be a wicket-keeper (2nd skill) as well as five players who could bowl, preferably two fast bowlers.
There have been numerous wonderful fielders in the past, so to narrow our search, we also have the following constraints:
- We limit our search to the past 30 years. Players like Roger Harper or the great Eknath Solkar at short leg would definitely be in our squads without this constraint.
- We make a distinction between fielding and catching. Fielding consists of direct-hits, diving stops, and acrobatic catches. Otherwise, Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, and Jacques Kallis have stellar records as catchers.
There have been several middle-order batsmen with great fielding skills, but then who would bowl? We would love to stack our line-ups with the great South African and Australian batsmen, but we need to keep the balance of the side in mind.
Brendon McCullum and AB De Villiers are considered modern fielding giants, but who would you choose as keeper or would you drop both and choose someone else instead?
Here is our XI. We have an XI consisting of 3 Australians, 2 South-Africans and Kiwis, along with 1 player each from Sri Lanka, India, England, and the West-Indies.
- Martin Guptill
- Tillakaratne Dilshan
- Ricky Ponting
- Steven Smith
- Jonty Rhodes – Has there even been anyone better than Jonty? Yep two videos for him.
- AB De Villiers
- Andrew Symonds – (My favorite run-out compilation)
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Kieron Pollard
- Paul Collingwood
- Trent Boult
(12th man) Brendon McCullum – for his superhuman diving efforts
Now we have a left-arm pace bowler (Boult), Collingwood and Pollard with their medium pace dibbly-dobblies, Jadeja the left arm spinner, and Symonds/Dilshan contributing part-time off spin overs. AB De Villiers will keep the gloves.
I would love to have Mohammad Kaif in my XI—a useful lower order batsman, but then we would have to either drop a wicket-keeper or a bowler.
Ever since T20 cricket came into existence, there has always been a debate between Test vs T20— traditional vs newer ideas.
I think there is space for both formats to coexist. Regardless, the one benefit from 21st century technology and T20 cricket is the focus on fitness. In a fast-paced T20 game, a run-out or diving save can change the outcome of the match.
Therefore, we have witnessed a large number of incredible efforts on the boundary in recent years. Fielding is no longer an ‘extra’ skill—it is now the norm.
Anyway, slightly older video, but I am going to leave you with few of the best catches in cricket below. Enjoy, SUBSCRIBE, and comment below who your favorite fielders/ best fielding memories are.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out the Most Stylish Batsmen of the Modern Era.