10 greatest Australian fielders of all time

10 greatest Australian fielders of all time

Considered perhaps the best side in cricket over the years, Australia have also always been at the top as a fielding side. Former skipper Ricky Ponting ranks perhaps only below Jonty Rhodes in the list of the all-time fielding greats.

Here's a look at some of the greatest fielders from Down Under:

Ricky Ponting

Unanimously regarded as one of the best fielders of all time, World Cup-winning Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is an obvious choice for this list.

Despite having been retired for five years, Ponting continues to hold the record of the most run-outs effected in all International matches - a staggering 80.

'Punter,' as he was popularly known, never restricted himself to one position, and variously fielded at silly point, cover and in the slips. It was not just catches Ponting was proficient at - if a knock landed in the hands of Ponting and you were short of your ground, you were as good as guaranteed a walk back to the pavilion.

Ponting still holds the record for most Test catches by an Australian non-keeper at 196; he took the meat of those - a staggering 36 catches - against India, with South Africa coming a close second at 35. Interestingly, former South African skipper Graeme Smith has called Ponting "the toughest rival" he has ever played against.

Punter was equally adept in ODIs, and took 160 catches - this time making New Zealand (25 catches) and the West Indies (23) his bunny.

Mark Waugh

NSW v Sth Australia X

Perhaps the greatest slip fielder of all time, Mark Waugh is only second to Ricky Ponting in terms of Test catches taken by a non-keeper, at 181.

The 'younger' of the Waugh twins took those catches in 128 Tests, averaging 1.4 wickets a match. He was not far behind in One-Day Internationals either, at 108.

Slip fielding is not entirely innate, but a large part of it is instinctual. The remainder requires skill as the ball picks up speed and force, and that means that concentration is key. Despite this, Waugh made some of the most difficult catches seem easy, catching them with a soft, deft touch.

His fielding success - from first-class to all formats of international cricket - have ensured he will go down in history as one of the best fielders of all-time - not just from Australia.

Read more: Why did Mark Waugh excel in the slips?

Michael Hussey

Second Test - Australia v Pakistan: Day 1

Better known for his big batting, 'Mr. Cricket' Michael Hussey was not as noticed for his prowess at fielding in ODIs. The Australian took 105 catches in One-Day internationals of 80 matches, and at a better rate, 85 catches in 79 Tests.

He was also able to transfer that catching form to T20Is, which saw him earn success in the Indian Premier League and in more recent years, Australia's T20 Big Bash League. In T20s here, he took 77 catches, starting what would be a successful five-year stint with former champions Chennai Super Kings, who will return to the IPL next season after a two year suspension.

Hussey spent one season at the Mumbai Indians from 2014 to 2015, under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, but returned to CSK for the 2015 season. Hussey has taken phenomenal catches on the biggest world stage - including a particularly good one at mid-wicket to dismiss Kevin Pietersen at the 2006-2007 edition of The Ashes.

David Boon

Sheffield Shield - Victoria v Tasmania

Australian top-order batsman David Boon was very skilled in the longer format of the game, and had an excellent first-class record before making his international debut. The right-handed man scored over 1000 runs in Tests.

The stocky batsman was very quick in the field, and shone with bat - as well as with fielding in Test cricket. He took a phenomenal 99 catches in 107 Test matches, and tidied up fairly in ODIs too.

Boon was excellent at forward short leg, which has in the past been quite a dangerous position to field at given its proximity to the batsman.

He did well in other positions too, making seemingly impossible catches - notably that off Hanse Cronje off the bowling of Shane Warne, fielding at silly mid-off in a 1993-94 series between Australia and South Africa.

Boon is now on the Elite Panel of ICC Referees and still maintains an active role in the sport.

David Warner

England v Australia - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup
1Australian vice-captain David Warner has more than proved his prowess across all formats of the game so far, excelling with the bat for, variously, Australia in Tests, ODIs, T20Is and T20 leagues.

Warner shone last year with the bat for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, leading them to a top-4 finish in the league.

However, Warner is very skilled in the field, variously at slips and more recently at mid-wicket. The Australian has strong statistics across all formats; he has 52 catches of 66 innings in Tests, 43 of 101 in ODIs.

Warner has over a 50% success rate in T20Is, taking 34 catches in 65 matches - and it speaks to his level of skill that he has found success in both the shortest and longest formats of the game.

In T20 leagues, Warner has 110 catches of 238 matches - playing for Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.

Interesting fact: Although talented at slips, Warner only switched to midwicket fielding after sustaining repeated thumb injuries.

Glenn Maxwell

Australia v United Arab Emirates - ICC CWC Warm Up Match

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell has represented Australia across all formats of the game, and proved useful with bat, ball and in the field.

Maxwell has done well in all formats in the field, but his T20 league fielding earned him accolades upon debut in the IPL, in 2012 for the Delhi Daredevils.

Described then as 'exceptional', Maxwell has taken a total of 87 catches from 183 matches - among them for the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians in the IPL, the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars in Australia's Big Bash League.

His skills have, over the years, earned him plaudits from selectors, teammates, commentators and contemporaries alike.

Michael Clarke

Australia v India: Semi Final - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

Popularly known as 'Pup', former Australian skipper Michael Clarke has an incredible record with fielding in Tests, taking an unprecedented 134 catches in only 115 Test matches.

Although his record in the shorter format may not match up to the longer format, he is no slouch either, taking 106 catches in 205 ODIs, and 13 off 34 T20Is.

Clarke took as many as 3 catches in a single match, and was widely considered one of the safest pair of hands in the team.

Unfortunately for Clarke, later in his career, it was fielding that almost did him in. In 2014, Clarke had already been struggling with his back, but came back after going off at 60 to score 128.

Clarke was then active in the field - where he was usually to be seen at slips, but pulled his right hamstring, ending his match - although it was on the fifth day.

Shortly after, he announced that his retirement was imminent.

Clarke played for the now-defunct Pune Warriors in the IPL.

Andrew Symonds

Andrew Symonds of Australia dives to catch a ball from Mohammad Kaif of India
Andrew Symonds of Australia dives to catch a ball from Mohammad Kaif of India

There are few things in cricket that Andrew Symonds cannot do - and it is no wonder the Australian was regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the game.

Besides being explosive with the bat and good with the leather, Symonds was a monster in the field and quick on his feet, giving him an added advantage.

Excellent in all formats of the game, Symonds had an exceptional record for fielding in Tests, taking 22 catches in the 26 Tests he played in his career. He also took 82 catches from 198 ODIs in his career, which all but ended by the time T20Is took off - although he did play 3 T20 internationals.

Symonds was a big feature at the Indian Premier League, however, and in County T20s. The Australian, who played for the now-defunct Deccan Chargers and the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, took 42 catches in 93 T20s.

His expertise has of late earned him a commentary role, and the 42-year-old was last seen commentating on the Australian KFC Big Bash T20 league.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor of Australia catches Carl Hooper of the West Indies

One of Australia's most well-known - and talented - Test figures, Mark Taylor was not only their opener but also the captain of the side in the longer format for five years, from 1994-1999.

Taylor was also well-known for his fielding prowess, most notably at slips like his one-time teammate Steve Waugh. As previously mentioned, fielding at slips requires immense concentration in addition to basic skill, and it perhaps one of those positions is more based on innate skill than it is taught.

Interestingly, while Michael Bevan excelled at ODIs and floundered in Tests, Taylor was almost the opposite - and did not make the cut for Australia's limited-overs game.

Taylor was such an adept fielder that he held the Test record for most catches at slips - at 157. That record was only broken by Rahul Dravid, who is also considered among the greatest slip fielders of all time in the sport.

Michael Bevan

ODI - Australia v West Indies

One of Australia's most talented batsmen, Michael Bevan wielded the willow with aplomb, but also made sure his fielding skills were more than up to the mark.

Bevan was excellent in One-Days and shorter formats of the game, and is a regular feature on "best-ever ODI batsmen" lists even today, nearly a decade and a half after his retirement from cricket.

As a result of his limited-overs prowess - which did not necessarily t largely remained away from the Test scene, playing only 18 Test matches over what would be a ten-year career.

Despite this, Bevan took 8 catches in Test matches - averaging just over one catch every single Test. He took 69 catches in 232 ODIs, and took crucial catches in addition to finishing matches.

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