“Fielding isn’t work when you’re enjoying it”- Jonty Rhodes. If you talk about fielding in cricket and the most amazing catches that the world has ever seen, then the first name that would pop into the heads of most or rather all fans would be Jonty Rhodes. Rhodes redefined the nature of fielding with his athleticism and since then it has become a norm for fans to expect fielders to take that dive and leap that extra mile to make their presence on the field count. Fielding itself is a strenuous task, as players are on the field for hours collectively yet have to be on their toes for that moment where they can make a difference, despite the fact that the ball might not come their way for long spans of time. But for those who have been vigilant for that opportunity to make a difference for their team, their forbearance has turned games on its head. It’s quite often in the game of cricket that you witness a brilliant display of fielding or an immaculate catch that has turned the game in the opposite direction and these 10 best catches have certainly done that and thus have been inducted in cricket history. From their pure athleticism to their natural instinct, these 10 moments have gone down is history and for the years to come will be clicked time and time again as fans still can’t get enough of them.
1. Jonty Rhodes
Arguably the best fielder to have graced the game of Cricket, South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes time and time again proved a menace for batsmen who had mistimed the square cut. Jonty standing at ‘point’ was probably the most outstanding fielder to ever stand in that fielding position. This time too, in the 1999 World Cup held in England, his athleticism proved too much for the host nation. Chasing a target of 225 set by the Proteas, England were already 78 for 5 when Robert Croft’s miscued shot saw Jonty leap in the air, stop the momentum of the ball and turn around 180 degrees to catch it when his feet were back on the ground. A moment like this truly sealed Jonty as the most special fielder the game of cricket has ever seen.
2. Ricky Pointing
Nicknamed ‘Punter,’ this Aussie legend who had led his country to two World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007 took a blinder of a catch to dismiss Russel Arnold of Sri Lanka. Intending to slog in the second last over of the game, Arnold mistimed the shot high in the air. Ponting, standing at mid-off ran about 15 yards backwards and took a blinder of a catch though it seemed that he would never get to the ball. An outstretched arm behind his head, Ponting leapt backwards to get his hands glued to the ball and to excite the home crowd.
3. Keiron Pollard
If there is one man any captain would desire to have manning the boundary, it would be Keiron Pollard. The 6 feet 6 inch squash buckling West Indian time and time again proves that no one can better him while fielding at the boundary. A slog from Australian batsman Glen Maxwell that was probably a sure six saw towering Pollard make a jump that would make even Lebron James proud, clinch the ball with one hand and hold on to it at deep square leg to stun the host team and receive an applause from both sides.
4. Adam Lynt & Aaron Finch
In any sport, team work can twist the fate of matches, and in the case of fielding in cricket, it’s a rarity to see two players involved in a catch, but when it does happen it turns out to be a spectacle, just like the dismissal in the match played between Lancashire Vs Yorkshire. Manning the boundary at long-on and long-off were Aaron Finch and Adam Lynt when Smith stepped forward and skied the ball off a tossed delivery by Rashid. The hit first seemed like it would go all the way until Lnyth showcased his acrobatic skills to leap and instinctively palm the ball out from crossing the boundary to Aaron Finch. The duo received a standing ovation from the crowd and the catch is still one of the best that has ever been seen.
5. Adam Voges
Needing 20 runs from just two overs with New Zealand chasing a target set by the Aussies, the intention of the batsmen was pretty straight forward- to whack every ball over the ropes. It is in situations like these that the captain depends on their most reliable fielders to deliver the goodies and Adam Voges standing at Long-On knew exactly what to expect. On the last delivery of Ben Hilfehaus the hard–hitter Brendon McCullum smacked the delivery to the position Voges was manning. With just an inch from the boundary, off-balance Voges grasped the ball, but knowing he would cross the line, tossed the ball up, stepped over the line, found his footing and dived towards the ball he had put into the field. The catch got Voges the typical Aussie appreciative hair-rub from his teammates and the catch did prove decisive in the outcome of the game.
6. Bevan Small & Michael Mason
If you thought the catch between Aaron Finch and Adam Lyth was spectacular then this one is going to overwhelm you as much. In a match from the New Zealand domestic HRV Twenty20 competition, the ball yet again was scooped towards the fence but this time it was Bevan Small who sprung a great distance in the air, caught the ball while airborne over the ropes and tossed the ball to Michael Mason who collected the ball confidently. The effort of Bevan Small certainly topped the charts with regard to the ‘best catch’ the New Zealand domestic circuit has ever seen.
7. Dinesh Karthik
A natural wicketkeeper, Indian Cricketer Karthik is known by the whole cricketing nation for his athletic stretches to complete astounding catches and this time he proved his mantle yet again while standing at second slip. An out-swinging delivery by pacer R.P Singh caught Proteas skipper Smith off guard and though he lashed at it, it caught the edge of the wood and sped towards Dinesh Karthik who pranced to his weaker left side yet caught the ball in thin air in a flash. The wicket of the dangerous Smith sent the host nation into frenzy.
8. Sybrand Engelbrecht
You can be young and yet mesmerize the world with your talent and Sybrand Engelbretch did just that when he was given the opportunity to represent South Africa in the Under-19 World Cup. Standing at ‘point’, a familiar position amongst his countryman where marvelous catches have been taken by the legend Jonty Rhodes, Sybrand took a stunner that would make the even the world’s best ever fielder Rhodes proud. Reacting to a lofted square-cut shot, Sybrand dived to his left and caught the ball airborne with both hands. The spring and reaction time of this young budding cricketer will be etched in the memories of the spectators for a long time.
9. The $4000 Catch
Who said the best moments in cricket are on the pitch? Some moments that have been caught by cameramen prove that the activity among the fans is worth a watch and this one has garnered quite a few clicks on social networking platforms because of the natural instinct of this spectator. Sitting on the lawns in which a company had promised $4000 to any spectator who can make a one handed catch, this young bloke was quick to react when the ball was sent quite a distance over the ropes. What made the catch even more breathtaking was that the catch wasn’t made on even ground. The bloke scampered towards the ball down slope and doing so he slipped yet managed to get his hand on the white cherry. The catch was received with applause from the players, commentators and the crowd alike. Well, what’s better than watching a game and returning home with $4000? His lady love seemed pretty pleased with his effort too.
10. Yuvraj Singh
This man will go down into history as one of India’s finest fielders and this moment just proved the class he showed on field while he was in his prime. Ironically, it was the fielding legend Jonty Rhodes himself who was at the receiving end of this brilliant dismissal, a taste of his own medicine you would say. Facing a tossed up delivery by Harbajan Singh, Rhodes attempting a sweep shot miscued it and though most shots made towards short-fine leg assured a certain boundary nine out of ten times, Yuvraj proved he was one of the best fielders when he made a one hand diving catch to his right from short fine leg to dismiss the South African middle order batsman.