Fielding is an important aspect of the game, in fact, the most important. A player can have a bad day while bowling or batting, but the fielding aspect of the game is always in the hands of the players. As they say,” catches win matches,” here are the top 10 players with the most catches in the history of the Test format. The list includes all the players of all the test-playing nations.
1. Rahul Dravid
Famously known as “The Wall,” Rahul Dravid was born in 1973. The top-order right-handed batter was also capable of keeping the wickets when needed. He was known to outplay the bowlers defensively in testing conditions. His calmness while batting was unmatched, just like his immaculate stroke-play. He became the test captain in 2003 and continued till 2007. The batter has scored 13288 runs in the red-ball format at an average of 52.31. He has taken 210 catches in 154 test matches. He retired from test cricket in 2003.
2. Mahela Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene was a former right-handed top-order batsman. He was the skipper in the ICC 2011 World Cup and even scored a ton in the final against India. Born in Colombo, he was one of the best batters for Sri Lanka. He made his test debut against India in 1997. He ended his test career with 11814 runs at an average of 49.85. The former world-class batter was also an astonishing fielder and is the No. 2 catcher in the test history. He has taken 205 catches in 149 matches from 1997 to 2014.
3. Jacques Kallis
The former player from South Africa is one of the best all-rounders to have ever played the game. The right-handed batter and a right-arm medium-fast bowler was born in 1975 in Cape Town. The player made his international debut in a test match against England in 1995. Soon he was given the ODI cap in 1996. He has scored 13289 runs in his test career and has also scalped 292 wickets. The all-rounder was a great fielder and took 200 catches in 166 tests. He retired from the longest format in 2013.
4. Ricky Ponting
Born in Tasmania, the former right-handed batter was just too classy and stylish for the bowlers around the world. One of the best batters of his era, he is only the second captain to win consecutive World Cups as captain in 2003 and 2007 after Clive Llyod in 1975 and 1979. He is one of the most influential skippers in Australia. He was not just a great captain and a batter, but also an amazing fielder. He took 196 catches in 168 test matches.
5. Joe Root
Considered among the fab four batters in the world, Joe Root is a top-order batter and a former English skipper in the Test format. Born in 1990 in Yorkshire, the batter made his test debut against India in 2012. He was impressive on his first tour to India and has been a regular inclusion ever since. Even now, he has managed to keep himself at the top when it comes to the English batters in world cricket. He is one of the greatest slip fielders and has taken 183 catches in 135 test matches.
6. Mark Waugh
Mark Waugh was a former right-handed batter for Australia. Born in New South Wales in 1965, the batter made his test debut against England in 1991. He was known for his immaculate timing and orthodox stroke-play. He scored 8029 runs in test cricket with the highest score of 153*. His batting average throughout his red-ball career was an impressive 41.82. Apart from his batting and captaincy, he was a great fielder who took 181 catches in 128 matches. He retired from test cricket in 2002.
7. Alastair Cook
The 6ft 2in tall former left-handed opening batter for England was born in Gloucester in 1984. His batting display as an opener was always a classic one. His stroke-play was as good as his timing. The batter made his test debut against India in 2006. His patience and defensive technique are what everyone looks forward to. Being an opening batter in England is not easy but Cook made it look like a cakewalk. With 12472 runs in test cricket at an average of 45.35 and the highest score of 294, the former English skipper also has 175 catches to his name in 161 matches. He announced his retirement from the longest format in 2018.
8. Stephen Fleming
Stephen Fleming was a former left-handed batter for New Zealand. Born in 1973, he made his test debut against India in 1994 at home. He is considered one of the most influential skippers of his time. The batter is the most capped test player for New Zealand in 111 test matches. He was given the captaincy role in the test format in 1997 and led the team in 80 matches until 2007. He took 171 catches in 111 test matches. The player announced his international retirement in 2008.
9. Graeme Smith
The flamboyant southpaw was born in Johannesburg in 1981. After the Hansie Cronje incident, Smith took over the captaincy from Shaun Pollock at the young age of 22. His 259 against England at the Lord’s remains the highest score for a visiting batter. He made his test debut against Australia in 2002 at home and went on to play 117 matches for his nation. He was also a key part of the 2011 ODI WC in India. He announced his retirement from international cricket in 2014 with 169 catches to his name in the longest format.
10. Steve Smith
The unorthodox yet the best test batter of this generation was born in Sydney in 1989. After starting his career as a leg-spinner, he turned himself into a top-order batter. After his debut in the longest format vs. Pakistan in 2010, he was given the captaincy in 2014 and led the team in 34 matches. He has taken 168 catches in just 102 matches till now.