Test matches are all about sending the batters back to the pavilion as soon as possible. For this, the bowlers try all sorts of techniques. It is only in Test cricket that one sees so many fielders close to the batter, all ready to catch the ball as soon as it leaves the bat. Over the years, South Africa has produced some magical fielders. This has played an essential role in establishing the team’s place as one of the strongest Test teams in the world. Let us dive into this article about the top South African players with the most catches in Test cricket and see who makes the cut.
1. Jacques Kallis
We begin this list with Jacques Kallis. Jacques has caught 196 catches in 313 innings of 165 Test matches between 1995 and 2013. He is the best all-rounder the world has ever seen. Along with a fine and forceful batting for the bowlers, Kallis can surprise the batters with his pace, swing, and awkward bounce.
2. Graeme Smith
On number two, we have Graeme Smith with 166 catches in 223 innings. Smith appeared in 116 Test matches during 2002-2014. The left-handed batter was muscular and mighty. His contributions to the team, both as a batter and as a captain, are immense. He was known for his drives on the off-side.
3. AB de Villiers
Next up on the list is AB de Villiers. While playing for the nation during 2004-2018, de Villiers caught 121 catches in 172 innings of 114 matches. Everyone knows this right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman. Mr. 360 Degree could hit the ball anywhere, against any bowler. He is also a fine golfer, rugby player, and tennis player.
4. Hashim Amla
On the fourth spot, we have Hashim Amla, who has pocketed 108 catches in 234 innings. In his 124 matches during 2004-2019, Amla served the team as one of the finest opening batters the world has ever seen. The calm and classy man was known for his leg-side flick and serene cover drive.
5. Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Gibbs stands in the fifth position of this list with 94 catches. Gibbs featured in 173 innings of 90 matches between 1996 and 2008. The right-handed opening batter has played some of the most outrageous shots in cricket. Herschelle could cut fast bowlers for a six, drive bouncers to the ground, and pull off balls on the front foot.
6. Dean Elgar
Making it to the sixth place on this list is Dean Elgar. Elgar has bagged 91 catches in 154 innings of 84 matches since 2012. The left-handed opening batter provided reliability to South Africa’s batting line-up. In 2021, Elgar was appointed as the captain of the South African Test team.
7. Gary Kirsten
On number seven of the list, we have Gary Kirsten with 83 catches under his name. While featuring in 191 innings of 101 matches during 1993-2004, Gary played as a left-handed opening batter. He had the discipline and temperament that defined his success in the game and brought him rich rewards even after his playing days were over.
8. Shaun Pollock
With 72 catches in his pocket, Shaun Pollock stands in the eighth position on this list. While playing for the nation during 1995-2008, Shaun appeared in 108 innings of 205 Test matches. The right-arm medium-fast bowler’s father, Peter Pollock, and uncle, Graeme Pollock, have led the South African bowling attack during the 60s.
9. Daryll Cullinan
On the ninth spot of this list, we have Daryll Cullinan. Daryll caught 67 catches in 130 innings. In his 70 Test matches between 1993 and 2001, Cullinan acted as the centerpiece of South Africa’s batting line-up. The right-handed batter was a fine player of both pace and spin, and scored runs against all countries. However, the Australian attack bothered him.
10. Faf du Plessis
Last but not least, the final player to make it to this list of elite fielders is Faf du Plessis. Faf bagged 63 catches in 128 innings of 69 Test matches. The right-handed middle-order batter is a fine crafter of innings. He has emerged as one of the most consistent batters and has a strong defense.