Best Fielder in the World

The list of the top 5 best fielders in the world is led by Australian great Ricky Ponting. Know the other legends who made fielding look stylish in cricket.

Best Fielder in the World
Subhayan Dutta

Written by: Subhayan Dutta

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-10-03

Fielding as a skill got tremendous recognition in the 1990s with supremely athletic cricketers in vogue, especially in the 30-yard circle, for taking mind-boggling catches and executing fast-paced, pin-point throws to dismiss batsmen out of nowhere.

Leading the list of the top 5 best fielders in world cricket is former Australia captain Ricky Ponting with the most number of dismissals. However, the player who made fielding look cool was South Africa’s Jonty Rhodes, who inspired an entire generation of players around the world to add fielding to their cricket resume.

Below are the top five fielders that cricket has seen. 

TOP 5 BEST FIELDERS

IN THE WORLD

RANKPLAYERMATCHESCATCHESRUN OUTS
1Ricky Ponting56036480
2AB De Villiers42024868
3Paul Collingwood30121835
4Herschelle Gibbs36121043
5Jonty Rhodes29713768
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1. Ricky Ponting

The most uncompromising captain Australia has seen since Allan Border, Ponting’s fielding exuded his attitude. As if his tons of runs across all formats and success in every ICC tournament that he captained weren’t enough, Ponting found a way to inspire his team with magnificent fielding actions making the in-field his territory.  

Easily the best fielder Australia has ever produced, Ponting’s strength while fielding was his anticipation. While he had safe hands while standing at the second slip, it was the 30-yard circle that Ponting specialised in. He covered that area, especially backward point, with lightning-quick speed and has taken some iconic catches during his career. Ponting has an unbelievable 364 catches to his name and has effected 80 run-outs in the 560 international matches that he played.

2. AB de Villiers

A player who took up cricket after getting dazzled by Jonty Rhodes’ iconic diving run-out of Inzamam-ul-Haq during the 1992 World Cup, AB de Villiers never imagined he would one day surpass his idol in terms of fielding. An ideal team player, who could keep wickets, and take the in-field as well as the outfieldAB de Villiers ODI Fielding.jpeg with equal efficacy, as and when his team needed, ABD was the most complete fielder.

Whether it be his flying run-out of Mushfiqur Rahim, his rocket-arm throw to dismiss Brendan Nash, a one-handed floating throw to get Michael Hussey run-out or the unbelievable no-look throw, every ABD fielding is etched in memory. His most recent exploit was a jumping one-handed catch in IPL while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
 

3. Paul Collingwood

Brought into the English team initially as a replacement to play the role of a utility player, Paul Collingwood soon made his reputation of being one of the best ODI all-rounders. Standing at the second or third slip, Collingwood hardly missed a catch thereby making England Paul Collingwood ODI Fielding.jpega formidable Test side. Collingwood was also the sharpest at the cover and backward point positions. His aggressive fielding approach played a significant role in helping England win the 2010 World T20 under his leadership.

His giant hands allowed him to clamp the ball comfortably and he ended up taking 218 catches in his entire career. He had a dead-eye throw as well to add to his holistic display as he retired from world cricket with 35 run-outs to his name. Collingwood has taken 218 catches and effected 35 run-outs in his career.

4. Herschelle Gibbs

The explosive South African opener might not always be remembered for his fielding, given how revered his batting exploits are amongst cricket lovers even today, but that doesn’t take anything away from Hershcelle Gibbs’ fielding abilities. An inch-perfect athlete who could glide across the 30-yard circle as effectively as he was at the boundary lines, Gibbs turned heads with his diving skills to stop balls that were destined for the boundary ropes.

Not only did Gibbs save runs but had a rocket arm throw that could pierce the ball through the eye of a needle. He has 210 catches and 43 run-outs credited to his name in 361 matches. However, the world-class fielder will always be known for trying to toss the ball up in excitement after taking Steve Waugh’s catch during the 1999 World Cup, and consequently dropping it.

5. Jonty Rhodes

The man who started it all, Jonty Rhodes was a household name in the 1990s with almost every fan possessing a poster of Rhodes running out Inzamam Jonty Rohdes ODI Fielding.jpegwhile his body is suspended in the air. It was a popular fact during his playing days that Rhodes would delay the team bus for one extra session of reflex catches. He was an insanely hard worker, especially at the backward point, a position that he made his own.

Not only fielding but Rhodes also started taking quick singles in ODIs, which has become a necessity in modern-day cricket, that kept the scoreboard ticking against the best of bowling attacks. Rhodes had to retire from international prematurely after his finger fracture during the 2003 World Cup, but he had started an adulation for fielding never seen before in cricket.

The only reason he is fifth on this list is because of his numbers. He played only 297 international matches, the least among all on this list, and still managed to retire with 137 catches and 68 run-outs.

Who is the world no. 1 fielder right now?

While the above list is filled with cricketers from Australia and South Africa, the new-age India team has been a hotbed for talented fielders, since MS Dhoni took over the captaincy. The then-young captain was of the opinion that a good fielder will save runs for the team regardless of the form, pitch or weather conditions, something batsmen and bowlers can’t claim.

While the likes of Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and others have all been great fielders over the Ravindra Jadeja ODI Fielding.jpegpast two decades, it is Ravindra Jadeja who is the world no. 1 fielder right now. Even at 34, Jadeja is the fastest man on the turf, whenever he takes the field and is known for taking impossible catches at times and effecting lightning-quick run-outs.

Praising Jadeja’s fielding in a chat show with Raina, Rhodes had said, “Jaddu (Jadeja) has taken some fantastic catches. The key is he is very committed. He is very good at anticipating the ball also."

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Subhayan Dutta

Subhayan Dutta

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.

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