The COVID-19 spread has imposed a strict quarantine for people from all around the globe. The most important routine of all is maintaining a safe pair of hands. The concept draws an uncanny parallel with the game of cricket. Though it is the batting and bowling that steal limelight, it’s those small aspects in the field that prove match-winning most times. Having a safe pair of hands on the field, putting a cautious effort to ensure it and keeping the discipline as clean as possible are as important in cricket as in life this quarantine.Indian cricket over the years has been blessed with over a thousand international cricketers. A few were remembered for their skills with the bat, a few made their ball talk for themselves, but there were few whose exuberant presence and energy radiated throughout the field. Here’s a look at India’s best fielders of all time:
Eknath Solkar :
He played in the times where cricket lacked protection. All it took were the guts to stand up to the batsmen and not let him get through easily. One of the cleanest fielders of all time, Solkar had a tremendous catching ability. His prowess in close-in catching positions was beyond phenomenal. He was perhaps one of the firsts to popularize the art of fielding in India. Though largely unknown to the current Indian generation, Eknath Solkar with his radiating energy led India’s revolution on the field.
MAK (Tiger) Pataudi :
The former Indian captain was a revelation on the field. ‘Tiger’ Pataudi was swift across the ground and possessed a fielding technique. Him along with Solkar were a force in reckoning and their enthusiasm on the field rubbed shoulders off others. The Nawab of Pataudi is largely regarded as one of India’s best fielders of all time.
The Indian Captain was known for his clean catches and ability to move swiftly across the field. Azhar was by far one of the fittest from his generation. He could pull off some brilliant catches in the slip cordon and affect some stunning run-outs with his superlative reflexes. Despite a disastrous end to an illustrative career, Azharuddin will always be remembered for his powerful presence on field.
Ask a 90s kid about his favorite fielder and Mohammad Kaif would never leave any Top 3. He charged in with an eye of hawk, moved swift all around, caught like nobody else and had an accurate release on the stumps. He instilled terror in the batsman’s mind, restricted singles inside the circle and always put pressure on the running from the outfield. Kaif was an asset to the Indian cricket team and it wouldn’t be untrue to say, Indian fielding revolved around him.
How often have we seen Yuvraj pull off one-handed stunners at backward point or pluck one from the air at covers? One could feel his on-field energy even off it. With Kaif for company, the two added a complete new dimension to Indian cricket. Fearless to stand up to the batsman when needed, the left hander held expertise at hitting the bulls-eye more often than not.
Indian cricket team was in the news for it’s exuberance in the field courtesy Yuvraj and Kaif. But it was also the same time when a young Suresh Raina took the field with a nascent energy to put in all efforts. Over time, Raina grew up to be one of India’s most dependable catchers and grew to patrol the most crucial fielding positions, especially in the death overs.
Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliance in the field was on display right since his days in U19 cricket. Over the years, Jadeja has went on to take stunning catches, be a part of a few extra-ordinary performance on field and has led the cricketing fraternity to believe, “If Jadeja can’t, no one can”. Jadeja is arguably one of the quickest and safest pair of hands in modern-day cricket.
A team can never run on individual efforts, it’s always a collective motive that drives it forward. Along with those listed, there have also been a few other noteworthy fielders like Ajay Jadeja, Virat Kohli, etc. The passion of Robin Singh from the yesteryears and Manish Pandey from the present, the slip catching of Rahul Dravid from the past and Ajinkya Rahane from the current, have all been real assets to the game. Indian cricket has scaled new heights throughout and these small unnoticed contributions have decorated each of those milestones.