When we talk about fielding, Jonty Rhodes is the first player that comes to our mind. The South African veteran redefined the meaning of fielding and showed great athleticism every time he stepped into the ground.
He stunned the entire world with his genius run out in the World Cup against Pakistan in 1992. Following that beautiful display of athleticism and sheer determination, fielding became an integral part of cricket with every team covering their fielding department as well.
Jonty Rhodes is also the first player to win a man of the match award for his fielding. The veteran has revealed his top 5 fielders in the modern era and they are:
#5 Andrew Symonds:
The former Australian cricketer, Andrew Symonds, stands at #5 in the list of Jonty Rhodes’ top fielders and his name is not a surprise to anyone. He was one of the most accurate and athletic fielders to have played the game and the batsmen did not take the risk of stealing a run when Andrew Symonds was on the ball. According to Rhodes:
“In the modern era, there really have been some great fielders. For me the first player, because I have only fielded in the inner circle. The first fielder I have seen fielding well in the circle and outside with a very strong arm is Andrew Symonds from Australia”
#4 Herschelle Gibbs
Rhodes’ former teammate, Herschelle Gibbs, takes up the #4 spot. Herschelle Gibbs and Jonty Rhodes have played a lot of matches together and they made it merely impossible for the opposition to steal runs when the ball was in their area. They were the two pillars standing between the batsmen and the boundary. The duo helped their team win a lot of matches due to their fielding.
“Herschelle Gibbs as a contemporary. He’s just retired from international cricket. He’s just hung on as a player, but he’s now just converted to coaching and commentary. As a contemporary, Hershelle was an incredible fielder so great to have him next to me at backward point,” said Rhodes.
#3 Paul Collingwood
The Englishman, Paul Collingwood, made it to the top 3 fielders according to the South African veteran. To him, the former England captain was one of the best fielders especially in the inner circle. Paul Collingwood was one of the players who made fielding look like a walk in the park. The Protea said:
“Not No. 3 in order but Paul Collingwood. He is a fantastic cricketer, very similar what regards to me in fielding in the same positions.”
#2 AB de Villiers
#2 is none other than the Superman from South Africa, Ab De Villiers, who has affected some insane run outs in his career and has taken a lot of impossible catches with ease. The South African has recently announced his retirement from international cricket but he will always be remembered by cricket fans, especially for his 360° batting and world class fielding. For his countryman, Jonty Rhodes said:
“No. 2 would be AB de Villiers. I have worked with the South Africa team for a while as a fielding coach and every time he put the wicket-keeping gloves, I’d be very upset and say ‘cummon AB, I need you in the field’”.
#1 Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina, the Indian star, stands tall against everyone and is the best fielder, according to Rhodes. Suresh Raina has single handedly changed the complexion of the game through his fielding and has given his team the breakthroughs every time the bowlers were unable to do so. Suresh Raina is one of those fielders who give their everything, while fielding, to save some runs for the team. The South African said:
“Number 1 fielder for me is Suresh Raina, someone who’s still playing. I know what the conditions of the fields are in India, and every time he practices, every time he dives, it’s gonna be so much of heat. He doesn’t even give a second hesitation of should I dive or shouldn’t I dive.”
“‘If you don’t go, you’ll never know’ and he has done that. He has taken great catches in the slips and in the outfield and in the circle. I have loved watching Suresh Raina. He is my number one fielder.”