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The Greatest Ever Cricket Fielder

Cricket, especially when discussing the topic of 'who was/is the greatest player' tends to focus on batsmen, bowlers or all-rounders, fielding ability never really seems to be in the criteria. With the introduction of T20 cricket, the importance of good fielding has increased further, with the possibility of a fumble or run-out changing the course of the game. Having said that, some of the greatest fielders to ever play the game did so before 20twenty really became what it is today.

What is it that great fielders possess that ordinary fielders do not? What attributes make a great fielder?

Well firstly, to make a good contribution in the field, you have got to know where to position yourself so that you've got the best possible chance of reaching the ball, especially if fielding within the inner circle. Judging the angles at which the ball can travel and closing them down is a significant factor when doing this. In addition to this, the actual position of your body is vital, you want to give yourself the best chance possible, with your body well balanced, to make that catch or save a crucial run for your team. Anticipation is another important element for a good fielder, studying the batsman and anticipating what he is going to do can give you that split second advantage when the ball is coming your way. Also, setting personal goals in the field can help motivation and concentration, aim to save five runs or make two run-outs and keep pursuing them until the end of the days play. The main component that underpins all of these factors is practice. Practicing the basics of fielding position, catching and throwing will only prove to make you a better fielder and this is what the very best fielders in the game do.

cricket bat and ballA good example of a great fielder is England's Paul Collingwood. While not always bringing much to the game in terms of batting or bowling, Collingwood's work in the field was always impressive. Taking catches in mid-air and making run outs, Collingwood showed that it's still possible to contribute to the team even if the runs or wickets do not come.

Australia's Ricky Ponting on the other hand, excelled with the bat but did not use this as an excuse to slack off in the field. On the contrary, Ponting is Australia cricket's greatest ever fielder and was lethal within the inner circle. Taking over 350 catches in his test and one day international career, Ponting was an expert at cutting off the angles at which the ball could pass him, leading to excellent catches, run-outs and saved runs for his team.

Having said that, there can be no doubt that the greatest fielder of all time has to be South Africa's Jonty Rhodes. Not only did Rhodes possess everything that Ponting had, he also delivered great entertainment for crowds with his acrobatics in the field. Rhodes was the first cricketer who really brought fielding to a new level, showing that it was a skill of it's own and not just a secondary part of the game. Through a mixture of diving, catching and throwing, Rhodes was lethal in the field and opposition batsmen would never look to test him if they could avoid it.

This list is part of the discussion of greatest players from the sport of cricket, which will then be voted on and the winner placed on the shortlist of the all time greatest athlete ever (all sports).

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