Best fielders in world cricket: The top 10 ever

Jonty Rhodes is the best fielder ever in world cricket.

Who are the greatest fielders of all-time?

Fielding can often be the difference between winning and losing a game. The best fielders in world cricket save a number of runs, affect smart run outs and take scintillating catches to turn games around. The likes of Ben Stokes and Virat Kohli are two of the better athletes in modern-day cricket, having starred in the outfield on multiple occasions.

But, there have been some mighty great fielders in cricketing history and in this article we will explore the top 10 of all-time.

So, who makes the list?

10. Faf du Plessis

Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (L) watches as his catch out in the slip area is taken by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis (R) during the second day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and South Africa at the National Stadium in Karachi on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Faf du Plessis has a very safe pair of hands and is an extremely versatile fielder, putting him at number 10 on our list of “Best fielders in world cricket.” He predominantly fields at slip in Test match cricket but also is a gun fielder inside the 30-yard circle in limited-overs cricket. He has taken some amazing catches in recent history, including one to dismiss Joe Root, off the bowling off Beuran Hendricks at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg in 2020.

9. Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina is number nine on our list of “Best fielders in world cricket.” He is perhaps best known in modern times for his heroics in the Indian Premier League. His fielding prowess in the competition has been nothing short of excellent. Along with Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja, he has and continues to form a potent outfield for the Chennai Super Kings. This, despite all three being over 30. It shows their fitness and athleticism.

8. Steve Smith

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 15: Steve Smith of Australia(L) takes a catch during fielding practice during an Australia Nets Session at Emirates Old Trafford on September 15, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Steve Smith is a calm and calculated fielder, who prefers not to be aggressive when taking catches, because he feels it affects his rhythm. Often standing at slip, he pulls off stunning one-handed grabs to dismiss some of the leading batsmen in the game. He can also stand in the outfield, because he has a gun throwing arm that can both run batsmen out and stop runs.

7. Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja is currently the best fielder in the world, in cricket.
Indian fielder Ravindra Jadeja attempts a catch during the fourth match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament between Indian and Sri Lanka at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah, on the outskirts of Dhaka on February 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Ravindra Jadeja is the best fielder in world cricket currently. His all-round skills are simply awesome and he can do practically everything in the outfield. Jadeja has a bullet throwing arm, which is able to knock down the stumps with ease, as he demonstrated against Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy. He is also excellent off his own bowling, ensuring that quick singles are not taken. Plus, near the boundary, Jadeja is both athletic and very fast, which allows him to cover ground to take stunning catches.

 

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6. Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood is the England Cricket fielding coach because he was one of the best fielders in the world in the slips.
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 28: Dom Sibley of England catches during the short leg fielding drill with Paul Collingwood during a nets session at Seddon Park on November 28, 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Paul Collingwood was fantastic in the slip cordon for England and features at number six on our list of “Best fielders in world cricket.” Many pundits on Sky Sports and around the world agreed with such a statement during his playing days. Standing at second or third slip, he was an absolutely superb fielder for the English Cricket Team. He had massive hands, which helped him scoop up the ball very easily. An underrated aspect of Collingwood’s game was his ability to be proactive in the field.

5. Andrew Symonds

During the mid 2000s, Andrew Symonds was at the peak of his powers, in terms of his all-round skills, which included his fielding strength. Symonds could affect run-outs easily because he had a very powerful throw that would beat most batsmen, between the wickets. Like Collingwood, he had “bucket” hands which meant that catches would stick more often than not.

4. Herschelle Gibbs

Herschelle Gibbs was a fabulous athlete inside the 30 yard circle and on the boundary. He features at number four on our list of “Best fielders in world cricket.” He had really good movement and his diving skills were the best in the game, Jonty Rhodes aside. Gibbs was efficient at saving a number of runs and affecting direct-hit run outs, be it in Tests or ODI’s.

However, his bad habit of throwing the ball in the air cost him dearly at the 1999 Cricket World Cup, where he had Steve Waugh caught but tossed the ball up and dropped it on the second attempt.

3. Ricky Ponting

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 01: Ricky Ponting of Australia looks on while fielding during day two of the Third Test Match between Australia and South Africa at WACA on December 1, 2012 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Ricky Ponting is the best Australian fielder of all-time. Like the other greats on this list, his anticipation, commitment and technique were all very good. However, Ponting loved fielding more than most others. He would often study the movement of batsmen, especially when they were venturing down the pitch and be ready to pounce when required.

At second slip, he was reliable but it was inside the 30 yard circle where he really made his name. Backward point was his favoured position and he covered the area really well.

 

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2. AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers has a unique skill set in the field – his versatility. He is able to field all over the ground – be it in the slips, inside the 30 yard circle or on the boundary. In 2018, he took a superb catch off Rohit Sharma in South Africa’s home Test series to help the hosts win. He went one better in the IPL that year, plucking out an almost impossible catch against the Sunrisers Hyderabad to change the game in RCB’s favour.

The fact that he has also kept wickets fantastically for a number of years and can still perform the role to a high standard is incredibly useful for the T20 franchises that he represents all over the world. His reaction time, speed across the ground and awesome anticipation make him the elite fielder that he has been and still continues to be.

1. Jonty Rhodes

Jonty Rhodes of South Africa celebrates with teammates after the run out of Alec Stewart of England (not in picture) during the World Cup Zonal match between England and South Africa at the MCG, Melbourne, 12th March 1992. The England batsman is Neil Fairbrother. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Jonty Rhodes features at number one on our list of “Best fielders in world cricket.” He was described by Ricky Ponting as “The best defensive fielder of all-time.” This probably had some truth to it, because he could stop runs inside the 30-yard circle, like no other fielders could. Jonty had fantastic reaction speeds, an athletic dive and a gun throw. All three combined meant that batsmen would hesitate before running, if the ball was hit to them, thus saving runs. His runout of Inzamam-Ul-Haq at the 1992 Cricket World Cup, where Rhodes demolished the stumps, is probably the most famous run-out in the history of the game.

 

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