In the last decade or so, fielding is considered as important as batting or bowling in international cricket. Especially in the shorter formats, it is important to have good fielders in the team to make a difference. Good fielders can make a difference of 15-20 runs to the total which turns out very important in closely contested matches. Although weak fielders still exist in Test cricket, most one day and T20 teams are comprised of good fielders. But there has been some quality players, both batsmen and bowlers, who are known for their disastrous fielding. Here are the top 10:
1. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lanka’s spin wizard Muralitharan was known for his poor fielding. He often treated the spectators with hilarious situations when he was seen asking the fielders not to throw the ball at his end. Captains were seen asking Murali to field at short fine leg where it was expected that he would not have to do a lot. But after batsmen started playing paddle sweeps and scoops even that position was not the most relaxing for him. But he tried to make up for his weak fielding by his tricks as bowler. When someone has 800 Test wickets, one can probably excuse his fielding lapses.
2. Inzamam Ul Haq (Pakistan)
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam ul Haq had two major drawbacks. He was a slow runner between the wickets and a slow fielder. Although he made up for his slow running by hitting big shots, his fielding lapses clearly made an impact. Like Ganguly, he too had to field at within the 30 yard circle since he was the captain. This made his life more difficult.
3. Sunil Narine (West Indies)
The Trinidadian who has mesmerized world with his spin finds third spot on our list. Sunil Narine is a master at bowling, while he can chip in with few lusty blows in the death overs, but is hopeless when it comes to third discipline of the game – fielding. Caribbean players are generally very good atheletes, but Sunl Narine is an exception.
4. Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)
Another former captain who has made his way in this list is New Zealand’s leading spinner Daniel Vettori. Vettori was a slow fielder and often gave up on chases. His fielding became more noticeable due to the fact that the kiwis are known for being brilliant fielders. He had back problems which obviously affected his fielding.
5. Shoaib Akhter (Pakistan)
One of the fastest bowlers on planet, Shoaib Akhter was never fully fit for international cricket. This was the reason he was so prone to injuries. The fact that he used to bowl very fast added to his distress. This clearly showed in his fielding and he was often seen giving away lots of runs.
6. Munaf Patel (India)
Munaf Patel was one of those bowlers who was a bad fielder from his young days. He naturally lacked the fielding skills. Unfortunately Munaf never tried to improve on his fitness. This led to omission from the Indian team even though he was a good bowler.
7. Murali Karthik (India)
Left arm spinner Murali Karthik never played many matches for India although he was one of the few good left armer spinners India had. His performance was dulled by the fact that he was a weak fielder and leaked too many runs in the field. In the modern format of cricket, good fielders are very important and Karthik did not fit in the squad.
8. Chris Martin (New Zealand)
One of the four New Zealand bowlers to pick up more than 200 wickets, Martin was more famous for his batting and fielding. He is one of the few bowlers who has more wickets than the runs scored. His poor fielding added to his inabilities. Once again as a kiwi, people expected him to be a good fielder just like his teammates and his flaws clearly showed.
9. Lonwabo Tsotsobe (South Africa)
Over the years, South Africa has produced players who has changed the definition of good fielding. From Jonty Rhodes and Hershelle Gibbs in the past to the likes of AB De Villiers and JP Duminy, Proteas are known for saving at least 25-30 runs in the field. Not only saving runs, but catching has also been taken to a new level by the South African fielders. One of their players who has really shocked the world is Lonwabo Tsotsobe. The left arm fast bowler needs to improve a lot on his fielding. He can take lessons from his senior colleague Dale Steyn who is a brilliant fielder.
10. Damien Martyn (Australia)
Damien ‘butter fingers’ Martyn. That is what people started use to call him in 2003 when there went no matches where he did not spill a catch. Although he cannot be termed as a bad fielder, his dropping catches raised a lot of eyebrows. Once again his flaws were discussed greatly as his teammates were exceptional fielders which included the likes of Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh and others. However his brilliant batting ensured his place in the squad, his fielding remained questionable.