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Comparing the great fielders

Red Hill

The artist formerly known as Monk
At one stage the Australian one day team had Symonds, Ponting, Clarke and Brad Hogg patrolling the infield. That's gotta be formidable for a batsman trying to take a few singles!


Hall of Fame Member
Talking of great fielders here is an off the cuff list of those one has seen and gone - oh my gaaaaawd !!

- Pataudi Jr
With all the diving around we seem to have forgotten what the truly great cover fielder used to be like. Pataudi would move in alongwith the bowler, hands loosly by the side, slightly bent forward, weight on the front of the feet (or so it appeared), eyes boring into the batsman. Then almost as the batsman started moving his feet for the stroke Pataudi would appear to have anticipated what the batsman was intending to play and by the time the bat met the ball, he was clearly with weight shifted to one foot or the other and body beginning to lean and move slightly off the direct line towards the batsman. It was uncanny how he was able to anticipate the shot which would then make him move like lightening and pick up the ball while running at full sprint and fling it in in the same movement. I always felt his pick up and throw in from covers was as much one piece of work and continuous motion as is any bowlers bowling action from the final step approaching the crease till the end of the follow through. By the time Pataudi had finished his follow through the momentum of his sprint and ferocious throw in would carry him far away. No he needed no diving for he picked up cleanly and on the run and rarely did he miss the ball. I have seen him play so much first class cricket and even some club cricket besides for India and do not remember the intensity to have ever been any less nor do I remember him missing the ball.

He would pick up with both hands, on the run, where this was possible even to drives scorching along the ground and use one hand when the other couldn't reach. There was no fancy showtime stuff just sheer feline grace and tiger like ferocity. He got the nickname of "Tiger" for his fielding long before he even played for his country at Hove and in other grounds in England. Cheetah or panther might have been more appropriate.

watch this space . . .

(to be continued)