October 1, 2012

What's the best sight in cricket?

All spectator sports are meant to provide spectacles, but cricket arguably presents the biggest variety. Five writers choose their favourite sights in the game

Bouncer avoidance

By Andrew Miller

Choose between get hit or get the hell away © Getty Images

The greatest sporting moments occur at the crossover point between discipline and instinct - at the do-or-die moment, when all those hours and years of training have been processed by one's neurons to such an extent that your brain is responding to the moment long before the rest of your body is aware the moment is upon you.

It takes less than half a second for a great fast bowler to propel a cricket ball towards a batsman's head, and in the fractional leftovers of a second still available after the ball has been sighted and the intent of its trajectory gauged, a decision needs to be made. Do or die. Play or miss. Dodge, or Get The Hell Out Of Dodge.

In those split-milliseconds, the speed of human instinct reveals its extraordinary depths. The recognition of impending danger, processed by an eye that dares not let the fast-approaching orb out of its sight. The whiplash of back and neck as adrenaline kicks in and the need for survival takes over, and the roar of the crowd, and the intake of breath from a packed slip cordon that recognises that battle has been joined. The moment is gone in the blink of an eye. But he who blinks loses.

No other sport has a moment that quite matches the sight of a genuine batsman swaying out of the way of a genuine bouncer. It is a moment of defeat that can feel like a victory, if the batsman's resolve is strengthened by the sniff of leather, or a harbinger of impending doom, if the grip on his innings has been loosened by the jolt.

In my lifetime, no passage of play has better demonstrated the ghoulish thrill of the chase than Robin Smith's duel with Ian Bishop and Courtney Walsh in Antigua in 1989-90. The context was plain to see. England, to West Indies' vast indignation, had stolen an incredible victory in Jamaica, been denied by rain in Trinidad, been put back in their place by a late collapse in Barbados, and now, on a typical ARG flyer, were being lined up, quite literally, for the knockout blow.

The most memorable moment, since immortalised in the opening credits of Fire in Babylon, was the one that didn't get away. A vicious, snaking bouncer followed Smith all the way and, as Tony Greig morbidly observed from the commentary box, looked for all the world to have broken his jaw. It was the exception that proved the rule, because every such delivery that whistles by without impact has the makings of a moral victory, if the recipient is brave enough to view it as such.

The clarity of purpose on display in such duels is exquisite. Those who get caught between mindsets get hit or get out; only those who are sufficiently alive to the moment have the time to negotiate their own terms. And live to fight another day.

Andrew Miller is the editor of the Cricketer magazine


The cover drive: less art than creative science © Getty Images

The cover drive

By Rob Steen

If the cover drive was a movie, it would be Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon - brimming with style, substance and excessive fondness for 18th century Britishness. A record? Van Morrison's Astral Weeks or the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds - a rhapsody to the human potential for ineffable beauty and utterly incomparable. A colour? Purple, natch.

For this peculiar obsession with angled elbows and unnaturally twisting bones, blame Herbert Fishwick: the malaise began with his majestic photograph of Walter Hammond in Sydney, snapped during the 1928-29 Ashes tour that would prove to be that formidable run-hoarder's glorious if premature peak. Shirtsleeves trimly folded, toes daintily planted, left knee well advanced but comfortably braced, left shoulder tugging right, high follow-through and that irresistible final flourish - a dark handkerchief blooming from a cream hip pocket. My earliest exposure to the art of sport left no option but to worship at the altar of the cover drive.

Of all the strokes on a batsman's palette, it's easily the vainest, especially off the front foot. To see it executed as exquisitely as it can be is to recall that nimble Chelsea playmaker Alan Hudson and his autobiography, The Working Man's Ballet. Does that make cricket an alternative pas de deux for the Swan Lake-loathing, pirouette-despising, tutu-scorning segment of the middle classes? The cover drive alone would justify such poncey pretentiousness.

In actuality, it's less art than creative science. Head, eyes, hands, feet and wood must be in precise harness and absolute harmony. As with a drummer, coordination, rhythm and fluency are all - of muscle and movement, timing and touch. The cover drive is a statement, of technical superiority or undentable self-belief, exuding authority or oozing effortlessness, radiating efficiency or dripping with disdain.

Granted, you could say pretty much the same of any shot, but in the hands of its most refined exponents - and even those who only get it right every other April - there's something distinctively different about the cover drive, something smooth and grooved and graceful that lifts it above mere mechanics. Something visually sublime. That's why, whenever we want to demonstrate a shot's quality to a fellow spectator who has popped to the loo and missed it, we let the wrist curve upwards at 45 degrees, no matter where it actually went. That's why the sublimest cover-drivers and the sublimest batsmen are so frequently one and the same. Do the first properly, adapt the same principles accordingly and everything should stem from there, the outrageous as well as the orthodox.

To the masters, the blade itself is both extra limb and extension of the nervous system, a brush flowing in an easeful arc. In the rich tapestry of pure sporting craftsmanship, nothing - nothing - can match the final product: not Roger Federer's backhand, not Jack Nicklaus's tee-shot, not Ken Griffey's home-run swing, not even the Ali shuffle.

But why? Perhaps because, for something that looks so innate when everything clicks, the line separating awe from awful is so desperately thin. One element out of sync and ignominy beckons. The wider you open the face, the greater the prospect of an edge; the more you lean back, the higher you lift your chin, the likelier the spoon to cover; the bigger the stride, the smaller the chance of adjustment if deceived. Why else was David Gower taunted as often as he was vaunted?

You may notice that, of the six heavenly cover-drivers celebrated in the accompanying sidebar, half are Poms. Well, style does count for a bit more in these parts. Style, after all, signifies class, and Pomland is uncommonly big on such things, home as it is to civilisation's most enduring class system, first-class tickets, first-class cricket, the class act and the classy shot (if not, mercifully, the classy broad).

In a land where bowlers were once the professionals and batsmen the shamateur dilettantes, the notion of crease occupation as self-aggrandisement fits in neatly. Runs? All well and good, but how much more satisfying to keep that left-arm lowlife in his place with the aura of purest insouciance made possible by the classiest stroke? And the more lavish the finish, of course, the louder the sneer.

But maybe, at bottom, it's less about sight than sound: of ball being lightly but surely middled, of willow whooshing through breeze, of leather skating over grass, of bisected fielders crashing to the turf in futility, of sudden gasps and involuntary purrs, of percussive applause and that collective satisfied "aah". The sounds of summer.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton


In a clean-bowled, the true hero is the delivery © AFP

The clean-bowled

By Rahul Bhattacharya

The good clean-bowled is a perfect dream. One night at the MCG, a World Cup on the line, Wasim Akram lasers it in from wide around the wicket and reflects it the other way off the pitch. A stump is sent into recline, at an angle that conveys Allan Lamb's incomprehension as vividly as his stiff-backed lurch and puzzled glance backwards. Life can be staid. Why not revel in the magical? The clean-bowled tells us this.

My friend Osman, clearly spoilt by the hauls Pakistani stump-hunters bring home, says the bowled is emphatic and obvious. But is it obvious? Even when anticipated it is always surprising, which makes it as momentous as a goal. It is a reminder that bowling is an art of geometric precision, yet of abstract mystery. The chances of penetrating a well-equipped, well-trained full-grown figure to hit a narrow target are slim. It may derive from some deviousness of speed, length, angle, swing, cut, turn, trajectory or none of the above; its deceit may take many forms.

In the famous Oval victory of 1971, India were 95 runs behind when BS Chandrasekhar, halfway into his run-up, decided to heed Dilip Sardesai's advice from slip, "ek Mill Reef daal". Mill Reef was the champion racehorse of the time, and many lengths faster than John Edrich, whose bat had barely entered the home stretch when the bails clicked behind him. At quite the other end of the spectrum, England's Chris Read once ducked a beamer from Chris Cairns. Only, it wasn't a beamer, it was a wicked slower delivery which looped picturesquely into his stumps. I agree the clean-bowled is emphatic.

The spectacle is of bowler confounding batsman, but not of that alone. They are collaborators in a drama where the true hero is the delivery. The heroic delivery is saved from anonymity. It is memorialised by the broken wicket. This may take the form of a lone bail fallen like an autumn leaf, or the entire apparatus scattered in far-flung ruins. In any event, the wicket is broken, the bowler has "disturbed the furniture", "shattered the stumps" and so on. It is the game's only dismissal involving direct disfigurement (the run-out and stumped feature interventions by the batsman and fielders), and invokes in us some primal bloodless hunting thrill. It is the only one without a lag, from a deliberating umpire or a catching fielder. The moment is climactic; the slow pressure cooking of cricket has whistled.

In Michael Holding's near-mythical over to Geoff Boycott in Barbados '81, the fevered culmination is a clean-bowled. Holding's mesmeric pace is made legend by a solo flying stump. The photographer Patrick Eagar remembers the stump covering half the distance to the boundary (not wholly supported by video, but then what is sport without folklore?), and a bail almost all of it. The dismissal is accompanied by a great life-affirming delirium of thousands of attentive watchers who have been given catharsis.

Nothing feels so jubilant as the clean-bowled, and also nothing so catastrophic. Recall the silence of a hundred thousand after Shoaib Akhtar, youthful and lithesome back in 1999, perpetrates the second of successive clean-bowleds at Eden Gardens. As the little man begins his distinctive walk to the centre, the tremendous roar gathers, crescendoing as Shoaib makes his sprinting, unstoppable run and leaps to unsling the swinging yorker that is every kid's fantasy. Sachin Tendulkar's golden duck is made iconic by a cleanly flattened, neatly ironed middle stump. In a flash of light and a void of noise, the game's essence is exposed. The batsman must protect his stumps at all costs and now the bowler has defeated him. The evidence is there for the world to see, five pieces of wood no longer in their careful time-honoured arrangement. It is beautiful and shocking.

Rahul Bhattacharya is the author of Pundits from Pakistan, about the Pakistan-India series of 2003-04, and the novel The Sly Company of People Who Care


Compulsion, addiction, gullibility or an entertainer's instinct? © Getty Images

The hook

By Christian Ryan

Hooking when the ball's high on him and heavy, two fielders posted backward and deep for the catch, makes no sense. Smell of sweaty leather pinching his nostrils and the team's prospects stuffed should he happen to hole out - and he hooks? These are high-wire stakes, especially if he misses, and even more so in pre-helmet days, or in not so far-off plastic flimsy faceguard days, when slap and a guy'd go down, a plank on the pitch crust, and fielders' palpitations would ratchet up in a collective unspoken will he live? is he o'right? must be stupid yeah?

If he hits, it's a sight to savour, the red ball spiralling, flying, dangling above green grass and in front of a speckled background, and everybody in the crowd's two eyes fixed on it. The near-miracle of escape: two catchers, that modest patch of green that's theirs to cover, yet the ball wins. And the wondering - what propels him to hook? - and the not quite knowing if it's compulsion or addiction or gullibility or some inbuilt instinct that he's here to provide entertainment, not just to stick it out, a dandy's instinct that eleven-and-a-half-months-per-year professionalism hasn't totally stamped out.

That ball's hard. So when you are calculating the batsman's motives you probably need to weave fear into the equation, the way it can make judgement wonky, and also the idiot pride that comes with being the one who attempts the most dangerous shot there is. "I'm a hooker," an old Australian Test opener once said to me.

Hooking off the neck, with two men waiting out deep, puts the watcher inside the batsman's head. You don't know why he's doing it. Does he know? Probably not.

Ravi Bopara at The Oval in July was a sight you didn't want to miss. Zero not out. Then an initial shaping up to hook; a clumsy about-turn; the too-late retraction of bat and pathetic snick to the wicketkeeper. "The product," tweeted the editor of Wisden, "of a slightly scrambled mind - why even think about the hook so early?"

Me, I smiled to myself, wished he'd gone through with the shot, hoped we'd be seeing Ravi again someday soon, knew chances are we wouldn't.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne and the author of Australia: Story of a Cricket Country


Did he catch it? Will he hold on to it? What if he grounds it on diving? © Getty Images

The catch in the slips

By Osman Samiuddin

I'm not sure which was the first one I saw, but the first time I began to consciously appreciate the existence of the edge to slip was in the mid-'80s, during one of those ODI triangulars in Australia that looked like they were being played in the future. If slip catches are films, then Australia is their Hollywood, where they go to look, sound and feel slicker, bigger and more. Down under more than anywhere, this dismissal is an inevitability of being, like death and taxes.

What is the aesthetic appeal? Well, first, it's worth arguing that television captures the moment better than watching it live, mainly because it gives a better sense of just how reflexive and instinctive an act a slip catch is. Live at a ground, where you log how far back the slips stand, you can fool yourself into thinking (because you can't instantly compute the speed) that slippers have time to take a catch because they are so far back. TV, in 2D and from front-on, shortens that distance, so it looks like they have less time than they actually do.

Then there is the dense potentiality frozen in the precise instance of this dismissal, like in the lbw appeal before the umpire decides. Generally, as the bowler runs in on TV, you can see the slips. As he nears delivery, the camera narrows its focus so that only the wicketkeeper remains in frame. Any edge comes in this camera shot. But only the next frame reveals whether it is held, and in that moment between frames, the imagination bursts powerfully and briefly forth: Out, what's next, one more? Game changed? He's not, oh no, now what? Game changed? We're talking mere milliseconds, but they stretch.

Why else? Well, for years the edge to slip also felt like a novelty. Pakistani bowling has had no-nonsense modes of attack over the years. Bowl straight, aim for stumps or pads; there is a kind of infallible logic about that. An edge to slip? Uncommon. (And also, why? Why allow fielders control over your fate?)

That novelty endured, as novelty does, in two ways: by creating confusion and arousing curiosity. The confusion was initially over the terminology. Were commentators saying the batsman had nicked it or snicked it when he edged the ball? Many years later I discovered they said both (an early discovery of cricket's accommodating nature: even ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentators still use both). Even the curiosity was terminology-centric: why were they called "slips"? (Another belated discovery: an early description of a "long stop" position requires him to cover "many slips from the bat".) And why did they stand there, like a cradle behind play, not in front of it when, theoretically, play should unfold in front of the batsman?

The edge to slip wasn't abrupt like, say, the stumps being shattered. That was emphatic and obvious. The leg-before, like off side, was accepted by the newcomer as an unintelligible eccentricity. It was only enough to understand that pads must be kept out of the way. A catch in the outfield was also straightforward. The edge to slip? This was a jumble of unclear intent on the batsman's part (usually Pakistani, and so why even chase that?) and cricket's strange geometry.

The slip cordon itself holds a magnetic charm. These guys are the celebrities of the field. We talk vaguely - though less so than before - about so-and-so being a cheetah in the covers or point or close-in (sadly we never talk about a natural third man or fine leg). But with certainty and a degree of specificity, we know and talk about who is a good or great slipper and why. Their contributions - catches, not necessarily runs saved - are easily measured.

And because that is where they are seen chatting the most, I've always imagined the slips to be like a cross between speakers' corners and old coffee houses, where the game's greatest conversations occur and revolutions are hatched. No doubt it produces the greatest sledges. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, outstanding both, may have talked about construction, kids, plumbing, and other domesticities, but Shane Warne and Mark Waugh? Maybe not.

They have probably all acknowledged at some point the occasional magnanimity of the dismissal when it grants all protagonists victory: bowler and catcher clearly, but also batsman whom we say sometimes has done well to even edge it.

Osman Samiuddin is a sportswriter at the National and the former Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 3, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    What abt Sachin Tendulkar Coming down the wicket to Spinners? Even the great Shane Warne had nightmares about it..

  • WC96QF on October 2, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    @Shuvo : that pic of Kallis trying to survive a Sreesanth bouncer is one of my faves. Felt so proud that an Indian fast bowler took out one of the best batsmen in Test cricket - in that fashion. That boy Sreesanth shud have been nurtured and groomed properly !!!

  • theswami on October 2, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    How could you ignore Shivnarine Chanderpaul's cover drive, how could you ? The unorthodox stance, an ugly pose but a stroke with poise .... the cricketing equivalent of Cinder-ella

  • on October 2, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Though I'm a Sri Lankan I'm not a huge fan of Jayasuriya's batting style.. But his flying cut shot in his 340 run knock against India is the most beautiful cricket shot I have ever seen. It was timing, instinct, reflexes, technique and precision all working together in complete harmony. It was a flat six against an out side the off stump bouncer.

  • on October 2, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Jacque Kallis has been involved in more bouncer avoidance pictures than anyone else I remember and is a photographer's delight. Check out:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/541178.html http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/494620.html

  • PadMarley on October 2, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    not a big name in the history of cricket compared to legends.... but one of the best drivers i have seen is Marvan Atapattu .... he made us feel, even those who wrote the text book had to fine tune their scripts ...

  • bzzd on October 2, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    What about Alvin Kallicharan hooking - at least until he got hit on the head. Never quite the same after that.

  • on October 1, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    Backfoot punch through the covers.. high elbow.. photographic follow through...

    My best sight in cricket....

  • RandyOZ on October 1, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    How is Ponting not there for the hook and Mark Waugh not for the slips? Missed a few tricks here the authors.

  • crazyworldthis on October 1, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    For me personally, the packed slips cordon and the swaying away from bouncers is the best sight. Probably it is nostalgia, i mean you rarely see these 2 sights anymore.

  • on October 3, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    What abt Sachin Tendulkar Coming down the wicket to Spinners? Even the great Shane Warne had nightmares about it..

  • WC96QF on October 2, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    @Shuvo : that pic of Kallis trying to survive a Sreesanth bouncer is one of my faves. Felt so proud that an Indian fast bowler took out one of the best batsmen in Test cricket - in that fashion. That boy Sreesanth shud have been nurtured and groomed properly !!!

  • theswami on October 2, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    How could you ignore Shivnarine Chanderpaul's cover drive, how could you ? The unorthodox stance, an ugly pose but a stroke with poise .... the cricketing equivalent of Cinder-ella

  • on October 2, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Though I'm a Sri Lankan I'm not a huge fan of Jayasuriya's batting style.. But his flying cut shot in his 340 run knock against India is the most beautiful cricket shot I have ever seen. It was timing, instinct, reflexes, technique and precision all working together in complete harmony. It was a flat six against an out side the off stump bouncer.

  • on October 2, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Jacque Kallis has been involved in more bouncer avoidance pictures than anyone else I remember and is a photographer's delight. Check out:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/541178.html http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/494620.html

  • PadMarley on October 2, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    not a big name in the history of cricket compared to legends.... but one of the best drivers i have seen is Marvan Atapattu .... he made us feel, even those who wrote the text book had to fine tune their scripts ...

  • bzzd on October 2, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    What about Alvin Kallicharan hooking - at least until he got hit on the head. Never quite the same after that.

  • on October 1, 2012, 23:57 GMT

    Backfoot punch through the covers.. high elbow.. photographic follow through...

    My best sight in cricket....

  • RandyOZ on October 1, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    How is Ponting not there for the hook and Mark Waugh not for the slips? Missed a few tricks here the authors.

  • crazyworldthis on October 1, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    For me personally, the packed slips cordon and the swaying away from bouncers is the best sight. Probably it is nostalgia, i mean you rarely see these 2 sights anymore.

  • on October 1, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    Bangladeshi little known batsmen hannan sarkar wasn't the best player of bouncer,but he had some funny techniques to avoid bouncers!!

  • Toescrusher on October 1, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    In 1980-81 Aus Pak 5th test Mohsin score only 17 runs in the opening partnership with Muddsar it was 1st 50 runs partnership by the Pakistani openers of that tour. Mohsin in his 17 run hit three crispy cover drives to Thompson. However the ball I remembered the most was a flat very quick beamer by Thompson which Mohsin got on his left hand's flat gloves it was so quick that Mohsin barely moved his left had few inches from the stance; Thompson apologized with good gustier, this is a moment in cricket I would love to watch again. Among the three crispy cover drives Mhosin Played to Thompson one was played with such an athletical skill that while Mohsin Played that cover drive his both feet were few inches in the air and his entire body weight was on the half volley. This kind of acrobatic short is rear in cricket and it is an absolute treat to watch.

  • on October 1, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    Agree with all these on the list, wish there was room for more though. Collingwood catch in 2005 against Hayden in the ODI. Tendulkar catch on the boundary in 1990 (was it Trent Bridge?), Malinga yorker, Warne 50 degree leg spinner, Waquar inswinging bouncer V WI in the early 90's, Simon Jones boomerang ball, Viv Richards one handed six at ATR 1986, Akthar to Jayasuriya 6 edged over the slips at Taunton as an entree to the 1998 world cup, Russell keeping V's India nose to the bails. Love it all!!

  • sucsab on October 1, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    how in life when it come to cover drives one can forget marvin atapattu, keith authurton and hooking remember alvin kallichran.

  • keecha on October 1, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    @ Burmanolo: Ur description of the Rahul Dravid stroke is poetry. Super Like.

  • manak_18 on October 1, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    how come no sourav in the cover driving section ???? surely better than vauhan and amla

  • on October 1, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Batsmen being hit by a bouncer is the best sight in cricket...watch akhtar vs kirsten, akhtar vs lara, akhtar vs ganguly...those are by far the best sights

  • on October 1, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    How can you forget the straight drive of sachin???

  • s3ns3 on October 1, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    No leg cutters or leg breaks? No bat-pad? No caught & bowled? No dancing down six? No direct hit from deep? These are way, way better than hook or avoidance.

  • on October 1, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    This list is a farce. Nothing to see here. End of story.

  • sk123 on October 1, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    @i_dieforcricket .. it's all relative my friend. The best sequence for me is Irfan Pathan hatrick in the first over of the test (Butt, Younis and Yousaf).

  • mgzak on October 1, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    Check out this pic.


  • HJ_verdict on October 1, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    While batting and bowling achievements are easy to note, how about fielding. For me one of the most important cricketing memory is Johnty Rhodes breaking stumps of Inzamam in 92 world cup. Shows cricketers are ready to put their body up for the grabs

  • cbaunni on October 1, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Why is Ricky Ponting not in your list of best slippers? I know tastes vary, but he has a lot of absolute blinders in his list.

  • on October 1, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    this list is incomplete...Rahul Dravid is missing. Please correct it ASAP. How can you forget a classical batsman like him...

  • Punter_28 on October 1, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    Where is Jimmy Mohinder in this list ? Twice in successive series he withstood the onslaught of the bouncer barrage from Imran & Co., and more lethal Marshall & Co both at their prime. He scored over 500 + runs in both the series when his more illustrious compatriots had no answer to the endless "perfume" balls. He kept on hooking and pulling with aplomb. To me he was one of the best ever against the short stuff.

  • on October 1, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Greatest sight of cricket running shoaib towards batsman killing look feared batsman (tendulker) after getting wicket his aeroplane celebration ...cricket lovers ll never forget.

  • Praxis on October 1, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    Thanks Andrew Miller, at last someone wrote about the favourite of mine. Batsman trying to avoid a bouncer, its probably the most brutal & exciting thing in cricket. That 2009 test series of AUS vs SA was the first one I watched after a few years, Steyn troubled Hussey to no end, in the process restored my faith in test cricket too.

  • on October 1, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    fantastic piece .....Kudos to Cricinfo editors for coming up with this idea .... need more such articles ... loved Osman, Rahul and ANdrew miller's writing .

  • on October 1, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Shane Warne weaving his tricks around a batsman and a Sunny Gavaskar Straight drive.

  • aalokmr on October 1, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Dravid not in the top 5 Cover Drivers or top 5 slippers? C'mon

  • on October 1, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Fielders crowding the batsman...wouldnt that be awesome sight too whether it is with spinners and bat-pad or fast bowlers with an army in the slips and someone at forward-short-leg?

    Also wristy shots from off to leg...All exponents here would be typically from the Asian countries with Hyderabadi batsman leading the parade...

  • Ross_Co on October 1, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    Perhaps they could have a column on the rarest sights in cricket - an 'England' XI totally made up of English players for instance. That sort of thing.

  • STRAIGHT_TALK on October 1, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    Thakfully, happy to note that SRT does not appear anywhere in the above lists.

  • on October 1, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    I wonder how these experts who were writing an article on best sights in cricket missed to include the sublime straight drive into it.

  • on October 1, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    It must be a big slip: Inzi, Younis and Anderson ahead of Mark Waugh

  • on October 1, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Even as an england fan, Aravinda showed its all about talent if u got it that is and Murali there are no superlatives left for him, some one need to find a word to define this icon. If Mohamed Ali is the greatest what can be used for Murali?

  • johnathonjosephs on October 1, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    I love how Sangakkara is not included for the cover drive list, but a man from a fuzzy video from 90 years ago beat him to it. Also how could the two players with the highest catches in world cricket, Mahela and Dravid, not be on the list for slip catches? Yet, I seem to see Jimmy Anderson on the list. Also Brian Close may have faced a lot of short pitched bowling, but by no means was he an expert on them. He got hit and bruised up more often than naught

  • Soulberry on September 26, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    What better sight than a top class spinner, you pick the names, weaving his magic around batsmen, and batsmen applying themselves to combat his wiles or using their feet to conquer his cunning? Sachin versus Warne in recent times is an example. Cricket's not all about big men hurling it down fast and batsmen hooking, pulling or cutting them. That's cricket's pop culture. Bowling spin and playing it are special arts...like classical music or painint. Highly cerebral.

  • wolf777 on September 26, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Rohit Sharma plays all these shots better than everyone...of course in the NETS...

  • Winsome on September 25, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    Modern players, Rahul Dravid and Adam Gilchrist played it beautifully if with quite different styles. I think Dravid is/was poetry.

  • RoshanF on September 25, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Ah, yes all these mentioned players had great cover drives ... and include Greg Chappel, VVS, Mahela J, Len Hutton and a few as well. BUT can or could any of them hit those shots, off a fast bowler, moving two feet away from the leg stump and send the ball crashing to the cover boundary with classical flourish. NO WAY. Only one man could and did and not on flat pitches - the greatest striker of the ball cricket has ever seen - Sir Viv Richards.

  • BrianCharlesVivek on September 25, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    In Tendulkars profile, Sambit bal says he can play all shots with class and the backfoot punch is his signature stroke. I am waiting for some writer to put forward the same and get Sachin on this list. Otherwise his fans will keep flooding the comments section..

  • on September 25, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    m yousaf cover drive was one of the finest

  • Anwar.ul.Haq.Sandhu on September 25, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    all good, but batsmen jumping after a toe crushing yorker.... or the sound of stumps from similar delivery..... it can't get any better.... cricket is becoming a batmen's game... but i love bowling

  • Anwar.ul.Haq.Sandhu on September 25, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    sachin's back foot drives are also great......

  • Anwar.ul.Haq.Sandhu on September 25, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    i am a pakistani and though i very much liked inzi an slips, younus is good, but you can't exclude mark waugh from this list..... also jayawardene with his quick reflexex...

  • on September 25, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    No "direct hit"? What a shame. Who picks this so-called panel of "experts" anyway?

  • Anwar.ul.Haq.Sandhu on September 25, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    what about M. yousuf's classic cover drive with his lazy elegance... i don't think it gets any better, plz watch those videos, jayawardene's drives are also great.

  • Anwar.ul.Haq.Sandhu on September 25, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    What about inzi coming down the pitch to hit a six of a classy spinner like shane, murali or kumble.... that sight was simply awesome..... you cant exclude that...

  • on September 25, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Sangakarra ... most stylish cover driver in the last 10-15 years .... at least an honourable mention?? No question about Gower and Lara though ...

  • Burmanolo on September 25, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    The cover drive has a taller,handsomer and sibling. The elusive back foot cover drive. I have watched Rahul Dravid play the stroke in England. Picking the length early, his right foot moves diagonally backwards, scraping the turf all the way. Elbows pointing down towards the turf,he begins the most glorious of back lifts, gently shifting his weight from his balanced feet to the toes of his back foot. Slowly he tightens his grip, calibrating his senses to the balls trajectory. And then with the ball homing in towards his navel, Dravid, with his head now 7 feet in the air completes the most classical of cricket strokes. With the poise and balance of a rooted flag fluttering in a gentle wind, he finishes with bat,pads and leg stump, all in a straight line. The elbows come to rest 2 inches above the helmet. His back ramrod straight. He's still on his toes, with his gaze following upon the now distant ball. The symphony is complete. The prestige done. The ball,its probably still rolling.

  • ChandanDua on September 25, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    For me, ONE OF THE VERY best is a timeless picture also existing in cricinfo's own archive (check: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/168326.html?object=6612ve). No better vision of a front-foot drive than as executed by Keith Miller ..

  • Sanawana on September 25, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    What the heck ? No Indians?? and why so many Pakistanis?

  • SCC08 on September 25, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    What about Steve " I can't run straight" Finn? Surely he deserves some recognition? Maybe as the most stupid cricketer on the planet?

  • on September 25, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    i would have complained about mahela jayawardene, record holder for the most slips catches, not getting a mention, but since aravinda de silva was recognised for his hooking its all good =)

  • DwightR on September 25, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    best cover drive has to be Kumar Sangakkarra...pure class; best sight in cricket for me...without a doubt is the clean bowled from a pinpoint Malinga yorker

  • Nerk on September 24, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    Dear Lord, Wasin Akram's 'ball of the century' is something else. Bowled towards middle, swung late towards leg and clipped off stump. Majestic.

  • couchpundit on September 24, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    Silken Touch of Ganguly?!!??

  • steve_mcking1 on September 24, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    The clean bowled, the cover drive and the juggling catch on the boundary rope are the best sights in cricket.

  • on September 24, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    There is no better sight in cricket than a cartwheeling stump - a classic victim of fast, swing bowling. The ones that are most memorable are from the 1980s West Indian bowlers!

    It is what inspired me in cricket!

    Rajeev - an avid Indian fan!

  • on September 24, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    derek randall invented modern fielding,no finer sight in cricket than to see him swooping in from covers!the best cricketer in the world at the moment is amla,the best cover drive?clive lloyd.

  • vajira12 on September 24, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Ever seen a batsman hooking a first ball of a test innings hit for a six ? Aravinda hooked Kapil Dev's first ball of the opening over out of the park against India in 1984.

  • Engee on September 24, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    Wait a minute.. there are several notable absentees here for best cover drives including MS Dhoni..:)

  • jackiethepen on September 24, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    We seem overwhelmed by Indians but there is clearly a case for Rahul Dravid, for sheer purity of style and for Ian Bell for his wonderful grace and elegance. I am surprised that Vaughan makes the list - this must be a personal favourite of Rob Steen's? He is not in Gower's class and Bell certainly is. It is nice to hear from Gower himself on this subject who always points out to viewers all the qualities to admire in Bell's batting. The Sri Lankans also cultivate beautiful batting, and so Sangakkara and Jayawardene deserve a mention. Amla might be adroit and neat but he lacks the panache and beauty to really compete. The Aussies go for power rather than aesthetics. In the end the cover drive has to be both etherial and earthbound. So Gower, Dravid, Bell, Sangakkara, Jayawardene in a class apart.

  • on September 24, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Best Fielders In Slip: 1. Mark Waugh 2. Mohammad Azharuddin 3. Mark Taylor 4.Dean Jones, 5. Ricky Ponting Some other notable slip fielders are Devilliers, Hayden, Yunis Khan, Kallis, And Inzimam.

  • on September 24, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    How can u forget some of the greatest cover drivers like Zaheer, Yousuf, Azharuudin, Laxman and Dravid including Tendulkar,Kallis they all played glorious cover drives which needed to be seen to be believed.

  • on September 24, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    Steve Waugh's square drive made famous during the Ashes '89. From side on there is no more outstanding picture in cricket from a batting point of view. From a bowling point of view its definitely a toss up between a Shane Bond/Waqar Younis style late in swining yorker and a batsman being done by a spin bowler a la Gatting vs Warne or a Strauss vs Warne with the look "how did that happen?" Having to choose one I'd go for Tugga's but thats bias.

  • on September 24, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    It is a very simple question which has many absolutely correct answers depending on who you are. As a bowler, the best sight is that raising finger of umpire after the appeal. As a batsman, its the ball leaving the field. As a spectator, well if you are pakistani then its that raising finger of afridi after he gets his victim or Akhtar taking his victory flight. Nevertheless, regardless of how we look at it, the best sight for me would the fielder running for that looping catch and diving to catch it. I tell you people, no matter which side you are supporting, thats a heart stopping moment.

  • sparth on September 24, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    How has this guy forgotten Rahul Dravid playing the cover drive - possibly the best cover driver in the world

  • on September 24, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    shoaib akhtar sight is the best sight offcourse

  • suve on September 24, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    Kumar Sangakkara's Cover Drive is Delightful to watch and I rank him well above Michael Vaughan. I also think Kallis and Jayawardene are better Slip fielders than James Anderson.

  • on September 24, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    Marvan Atapattu, former Sri Lankan captain, was an elegant cover driver. One of the most technically correct batsmen of all time. A treat to watch. Watch his century again RSA in 2007 worldcup on youtube. See for yourself.

  • on September 24, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Breathtaking fielding at point by Jonty Rhodes was some sight. Surprising to see no one mentioned it. Mahela Jayawardene, V V S Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Damien Martyn, Saeed Anwar and Ian Bell in general made batting a treat to watch most of the time they walked into the middle. SRT's straight drive, Ponting's pull, Sangakara's cover drive, Mark Waugh's flick, Dravid's on drive, Viswanath's square cut was something which can not be replicated in elegance by many.

  • aus_trad on September 24, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    I always thought Greg Chappell's cover drive was a thing of beauty. I remember the BBC radio commentary team discussing the matter some time around the late 70's. Someone (Brian Johnston, maybe), said that while Chappell's cover drive lacked the power of Lloyd's or the majesty of (Barry) Richards', it possessed a kind of "aesthetic"quality which set it apart. I couldn't help but agree. He was also, to my mind, though not the most spectacular of slips catchers, probably the most reliable: he almost never dropped anything he got a hand to.

  • on September 24, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Beautifully written, but ah, Rob. No VVS?:)

  • on September 24, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    Vinay Kumar bowling to Shane Watson in the 2011 - test series in his debut.

  • on September 24, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    missed mark waugh in the slips

  • CubbySadoon93 on September 24, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Forgetting Kumar Sangakkara is like leaving Sachin Tendulkar out of record books for the most runs! It's absurd leaving out a man who is most definitely one of the modern greats as well as one of the best offside players in the world (there are countless YouTube videos just on Sanga cover driving)

  • on September 24, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Muhammad Yousuf should be included in the list of best cover drivers. His cover drive style was majestic and effective.

  • guptahitesh4u on September 24, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    The writers should not include the name of the players. They should instead say that 'Players from my country showed this talent more than anyone else'

  • on September 24, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    i think Michael Vaughan is a wrong choice

  • Faridoon on September 24, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    THE COVER DRIVE It is a matter of opinion I guess. In addtion to the ones already mentioned, I would like to add Marvan Attapattu; he had a classical cover drive. Also, Yasir Hameed's drives looked good.

    The Zaheer Abbas cover drive was also a thing of beauty. A soft silky caress and even the ball would not know how or why it was travelling so fast towards the boundary.

    Somehow all shots left-handers play look amazing. Hence, I leave out Saeed Anwar, Sanga and Ganguly.

  • sharpshooter77 on September 24, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Amazing article by Rob. The beginning simply blew me away! And guys, lets stop comparing the choices to our national heroes. Rahul's on-drive, Sachin's Cut and Saurav's cover drives were amazing, but these guys have gotten it bang-on when it comes to the wider perspective.

  • on September 24, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    Can we have a topic, "the ugliest sights in Cricket"? I think many of Dhoni's shots will figure in it prominently. Almost everything in T20 Cricket will qualify too!

  • iNSync on September 24, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    Cover drive and no Sourav Ganguly? I think here you are mistaking 'all round a treat to watch' kind of players with players who had the best cover drive. I understand that there is a very high correlation between the two, but there are exceptions and Ganguly is one of them. No one, period, no one executed the cover drive better than Ganguly. Forget what Dravid said about him executing this shot, you just have to go back to those memories or youtube videos to remember what it was.

  • on September 24, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    the most beautiful cover drive is the one which is played perfectly....and in recent times only i can think of only one player who played it perfectly and he is Rahul Dravid....and not to forget about his extra-cover drive

  • rahulcricket007 on September 24, 2012, 9:49 GMT


  • GMFoley on September 24, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Trust a Pom to leave out Mark Waugh. Scored far too many spectacular runs off them through extra cover.

  • Punter_28 on September 24, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    Where are the names like Sourav Ganguly ( even if you place all your 9 guys in the cover region , he will still pierce the field!!!), Zaheer Abbas ( who used to caress the ball thro' covers), Peter May etc., in this list?

  • Royal_V on September 24, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    What about Straight Drive off fast bowler(s)... past bowler/umpire.. Always loved that shot

  • harshthakor on September 24, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    I also would remember the cover drives of Mohinder Amarnath,particularly in Pakistan and West Indies in 1982-83.He executed the stroke with perfect precision against great pace bowling.Sunil Gavaskar also mastered the cover drive,executing the stroke with great technical precison.Vishwanath's cover drives also possessed great finesse and revealed touch art.

  • harshthakor on September 24, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    I would have added Zaheer Abbas,a genius of the backfoot.His drives on either side of cover were the closest to Walter Hammond's cover-drive.He simply caressed the ball to race through the covers to dissect the most impregnable of fields.

  • avik_straightbat on September 24, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    I understand that the author has his own favorites but....he surely missed on quite a few names in diff categories ....cover drive...how can u forget ...saurav ganguy God of offside....zaheer abbas ....saeed anwar.... bowled .....malcom marshal...andy roberts .... hook....ponting ....amarnath .....viv richards.... slip catchn....azharuddin....mark waugh....etc

  • schathuranga on September 24, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    u forget sanga..he is the best in the world for cover drives

  • on September 24, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    It's said that great fast bowlers hunt in pairs. Well during the 70s-80s, WI bowlers hunted as a quartet-the famed, ferocious 4-prong. I used to admire how some opposing batsmen would be set up for eventual dismissal. One bowler would pepper the target with a barrage of short-pitched balls, you know, soften him up. Get him into thinking about what's coming next from the bowler. Usually, he would become so tentavive, so afraid, so vulnerable as a result that one could predict his downfall in the ensuing overs. At the other end, another bowler would apply the coup de grace-the death blow so to speak. The poor fellow would get more lifters, 'throaters,' rib ticklers, chin music, bouncers with a yorker or an 'outer' thrown in for good measure. More often than not, he would back away from the onslaught-he'd had enough, and glady hung his back to be easily taken by somebody in the slip cordon. Alas, the victim had succumb to the tactics of the enemy, no stomach left for a fight.

  • sumit_fan on September 24, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    For some reason, there isnt a single Indian player mentioned in any of the lists. There arent many great slip catchers than RS Dravid and his numbers show that well. Also his technique and balance made him one of the finest exponents of the cover drive, surprisingly he doesn't even get a mention in the article. Am i a little biased?, no its just that when we talk of cricket and the artists of cricket, Dravid deserves a mention.

  • thegaffoor on September 24, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Cover drive name correlates with Sangakkara. Otherwise, it sounds like soup without soup.

  • on September 24, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Batsman dancing down the track against spinner and lifting the ball over the head of the bowler for a six ...for me, another mind blowing sight in cricket. Some do it brutally...but there are some who do that with extreme elegance...just on the basis on pure timing...as if they do not want to hurt the ball. One man who enthralled all cricket lovers with this shot is Sourav Ganguly. Starting from advancing towards the bowler, meeting the ball at the precise moment for getting optimum timing and the beautiful arc of his follow through... every thing was just poetry in motion. Damien Martyn was another batsman who played this shot with majestically. Not to forget Brian Lara, whose extraordinary follow through made this shot of his a treat to watch.

  • mrmonty on September 24, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    Cover drive and no Tendulkar! But, Michael Vaughn in the list! If he wasn't nicking it to the slips, while driving.

  • pragscricket on September 24, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Sanga is another wonderful cover driver. He deserves to be in the list.

  • satzzz on September 24, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    The list is definitely incomplete without Sachin and Dravid. 2 guys who play proper cricketing drives and hooks as it is in the manual. And how could one leave out Malinga in toe crushing yorkers? Michael Vaughan in the list? You must be kidding us. Hashim amla's style is v.similar to that of Laxman or Jayawardane or infact Mohamad Yusuf. Just because these fellows are from Asia they were left out having proving their class for time and again. I really go nuts when i don't even see Punter's name in Hook shot list? Even if i don't like him to the others i've mentioned here. But no one will oppose me if i even call him 'The Best Hooker' ever in cricket. Even leaving out Dravid, Azhar and Jayawardane from the list of slip catchers? These guys caught well in low and falling piches of Asia rather than catching at comfortable hieghts to a st ones.

    Come on guys be loyal when writing your columns else give a tag that these are your personal favourites rather saying cricket's best ever.

  • on September 24, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Alan Donald, Dale Steyn...both equally adept at knocking back or uprooting stumps. Andrew Hudson on debut against the mighty WI in the Windies scored 164 pulling and hooking the quickest bowlers in the world off the front foot. Hansie Cronje and Darryl Culinan drove with ease and fluidity, and some of the best catches ever witnessed in the modern game have been pouched by Jonty Rhodes. I also only ever recall Brian Macmillan dropping ONE catch in the slips. Many, if not all, cricket lovers and fans will agree with the names mentioned, but one thing's for sure, we all have at least one other name to add to the list.

  • on September 24, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    Being from the Caribbean, in a perverse sort of manner I must confess, enjoyed the WI pacemen knocking over opposing batsmen back in rhe 70s-80s when the dreaded 4-prong was causing all sorts of distress signals not to mention white flags of surrender. One day I was watching a Test match in my native Barbados at Kensington Oval. Must've been '83. 'Bird' Garner got one to get up off a good length to the Indian # 5, Yashpal Sharma, a very nuggety sort of a player. Caught him in the throat area. His knees buckled as his body landed on the glassy strip. In those days, all types of batsmen, would compete regularly for space with the square-leg umpire! They would literally be backing away from Holding, Roberts, Croft, Garner & Marshall.

    In terms of pure batsmanship, I enjoyed national hero, the legendary Garry Sobers. Once saw him stroke Englishman pacer Jeff Jones for four 4s in an over in a Test. Kanhai was brilliant too, Nurse and Rowe elegance personnified. Richards was brute power.

  • SudeepSharma_Nepal on September 24, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Trying to embellish the sight of a cover drive without the mention of Tendulkar makes me laugh at the taste for cricket of the writer. There is no other sight as beautiful when Tendulkar plants his front foot out , caresses the ball right in the gap while two fielders guarding dive in vain almost converging. I hardly remember players looking more elegant when it comes to hitting cover drives of back foot. He can do that to the best of the bowlers.

  • AbhayM on September 24, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    how about the best straight drive in d business...sunny gavaskar, sachin tendulkar..dont remember any more who specialises d shot. best leg glance - Aharuddin, best hooker- ponting, kallis, best ondrive - mark waugh, dravid & by d way, how can u forget Azharuddin & VV special Laxman when u mention cover drive. I can never forget an incidense in sahara cup( do u remember in canada) when dravid hit 2-3 boundaries in an over & last bowl was superbly cover driven of the back foot by Azhar overshadowing all effort by dravid. can never forget that shot.

  • mtalhas on September 19, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    there shud also be a category of batsmen getting a strike on their heads/helmets by fast bowlers or bastmen missing a blow on some vicious bouncers and that would include maco,holding,akhter..:)

  • Trapper439 on September 18, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    Without wanting to sound like a sadist, I would have liked to have seen that one time that Colin Cowdrey got knocked out by a bouncer and was given out bowled because he fell on his stumps while he was unconscious. Can't remember which bowler it was, may have been Wes Hall or Charlie Griffiths for the Windies. Now THAT'S a bouncer.

  • on September 18, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    I'm waiting for Geoff Boycott's contribution to the series: "the leave outside off stump".

  • ayaantariq on September 18, 2012, 15:38 GMT


    BEST YORKER Why Malinga is not on this list

    BEST SWING/Control Akram (please dont mention sreesanth)


    MOST SCARIEST MODREN FAST BOWLER 1- S Akhtar ( no offence but indian fans please dont mention sreesath again) 2- S Tait 3- lee


    BOWLER WITH BEST CONTROL Asif (no more exist) McGrath

    MOST ELEGANT BATSMAN Gavasker No SRT.NO dravid please

    MOST TALENTED kohli No SRT please

    MOST Devastating Gayle the Great Gilchrist the gully No Afridi please

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on September 18, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    There can't be a better sight than wily ol' wizard of oz making the hapless pommie batsmen dance with stars in front of their eyes in the most royal (mother of)of all cricketing battles-The Ashes(The only legitimate and worthwhile prize in the game of willow and leather-rest all viz,20-20,50-50,60-60,World cups,Champions cups/ leags, n so on... playing a glorius side show in the calender between the "BIG FIGHT')There are many other great sites -the Mighty Aus handing out comprehensive5-0white,pom -washes countless times every other year being just one of many sights of the game

  • CricketMaan on September 18, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    A similar list but different context..how about Talent gone waste list..i can name 4 from India starting with Sadanad Vishwanath, Lakshman Sivaramkrishnan, Vinod Kambli, Sreesanth..can you guys from all over the world add to this list?

  • CricketMaan on September 18, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    Amongst million other recommendations, i inlcude the one ive seen (though many will disagree), its that delivery that Sreesanth bowls, seam upright, straight in the air and only deviates right below the nose of the batsman and take that edge..ive seen that a few times and it missing the edge as well..Alas, a talent wasted to arrogance and over confidence.

  • DeepakShah on September 18, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    The most beautiful sight in cricket is watching an orthodox off-spinner beating a top-order right-handed batsman in the air. No doosra, no freak deliveries. Classical off-spinner, floated up, beats a top-order batsman because of how it dips. And that too, a right-handed batsman who must feel relatively secure against the ball that is coming in to him. Without a doubt, the most beautiful sight in cricket. Think about the battles between Erapalli Prasanna and Ian Chappell. Then again, I am just old-fashioned. :-)

  • Hamzaad on September 18, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    Imran bolwed Mohindar Amarnath Waqar Younis to Lara in Karachi (The ball of the millenium :P) Shoaib akhter to Dravid Lara Akhter to Giles ...the way the two stumps landed at the same time ...amazing Akhter vs SA ....5for .... Akhter vs kallis ...at Multan ODI Wasim in WC final 92 and many more ......

  • Team-Ahmed on September 18, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    Shoaib dismissing the wall and then the master was huge at Eden Gardens. Simply can't forget those scorching deliveries.

  • Hamzaad on September 18, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    Imran bolwed Mohindar Amarnath Waqar Younis to Lara in Karachi (The ball of the millenium :P) Shoaib akhter to Dravid Lara Akhter to Giles ...the way the two stumps landed at the same time ...amazing Akhter vs SA ....5for .... Akhter vs kallis ...at Multan ODI Wasim in WC final 92 and many more ......

  • mtalhas on September 18, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Nice to see the inclusion of three pakistani pacers in the above list from an indian writer.it is truly a pleasure to see a bowled and I regularly visit youtube for this.my history is full of such videos :) but in case of murli or warne there should have been fast bowlers like mcgrath,ambrose,walsh.for spinners there shud be a separate category such as an entire over or the deceptive delivery and the notable names for this list can be qadir,warne,murli,saqlain,ajmal.

  • i_dieforcricket on September 18, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    The best sequence of cleaning up batsmen is Shoib Akhter cleaning up Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in consecutive deliveries at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

  • Punter_28 on September 17, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    Where is "Maco" in this list?

  • ze_wolf on September 17, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    I'll admit your mastery of English is beter than my (non existant) ability to speak Hindi but by using expressions such as "ek Mill Reef daal", and then only explaining what "Mill Reef" is you have left part of your readership completely in the dark. I notice this in a number of articles on cricinfo. That said love a clean bowled, especially when an arrogant batsman confidently leaves the ball with a flourish.

  • on September 17, 2012, 19:37 GMT

    best sight to watch when bowling out a batsman for me was waqar younis..batsman were trying to save their feet a from being smashed and being bowled (and those were the lucky ones, others got a nasty blow to their toes and were out lbw) However if I had to single best dismisal has to be when Ambrose bowled Thorpe..ball pitched very wide outside offstump and Thorpe left it and it crashed into his wicket while Thorpe kept looking back completely bamboozled his expression is what made it so great.

  • GavtheKiwi on September 17, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    Any other Kiwis reading (and a few Aussies) might remember Shane Bond absolutely cleaning up Adam Gilchrist at the Adelaide Oval about 10 years ago. The only time I ever saw Gilchrist made to look like a chump, and definitely the best ball bowled by a New Zealander since Hadlee.

  • Rahulbose on September 17, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    The best sight in cricket is your team winning. Clean bowled, hook and others are truly enjoyable only by half the supporters. As example I loved watching Shoaib bowl people out, but did not enjoy when he bowled Tendulkar and Dravid of consecutive balls in 1999.

  • rayinto on September 17, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    Out: Hit wicket for "Six"! Off course its just hit wicket with no six- but the ball is in the crowd after an amazing shot in which the batsman manages to clip the bails.

  • mrmonty on September 17, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    It is disappointing to see spinners in the Clean Bowling category. I mean the ball may eventually hit the stumps, but in case of spinners, they have been deceived miles before by flight, loop and turn. I would bring in Alan Donald and Brett Lee to the list instead of Warne/Murali.

  • RoshanF on September 17, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Good to see Aravinda in among the best who hooked though I must say he was more a compulsive puller than a hooker. As for the likes of "VivThe Greatest" that type will never see beyond their noses. Yes, Aravinda's average in Oz and South Africa are not great but is it really averages this piece of writing is talking about. NO Mr. VivtheGreatest it is about hooking. And boy did Aravinda hook and pull McGrath, Lee, Gillespie, Donald, Pollock and co in Australia and SA AND yes in Sri Lanka too. In fact if not for his "Mad Max" attitude he would have averaged close to 50 in tests. Incidently when you are off writing things you dont know of do have a look at his 92 against Lee and McGrath at the 2003 world cup in NOT India or Sri Lanka BUT in South Africa. Sixes galore in a lone battle. Two full blooded pulls off the front foot off Lee would have made the real Sir Viv proud. It went deep into the South African heartland.

  • 777aditya on September 17, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    What guys, no contention for the 'hit wicket' ?! - ultimate harakiri in any form of the game. I even enjoy the run out caused by the ball brushing the bowler's fingers and the runner backing up too far. Also, the rebound catch, where one fielder plays beach volleyball and other plays catch. How about batsman scoring heavily after getting out on a no ball? How about when commentators laugh their butts off when a batsman gets painfully hit in the crotch? How about the batting side getting awarded 5 runs when the ball has beaten the bat, but goes on to hit the helmet behind the wicketkeeper which he should be wearing in any case? Well, cricket becomes interesting with such wild things and not the tame descriptions mentioned in this article.

  • landsite on September 17, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    The best clean bowled I have ever seen (believe me I have seen 100s),is Imran Khan cleaning up Mike Deness in a ODI in the 70s.The stump was uprooted and sent flying through the air like a javelin,when it landed it stuck in the ground just like the javelin because it landed on the end that goes in the ground.The commentators recokened it went almost the length of the cricket pitch. I also experienced bowling a batsman out but only hitting the bail which landed in the pavillion and this was on a full size cricket ground in Trinidad,I have never seen that yet.

  • OmanBiek on September 17, 2012, 13:59 GMT


  • allblue on September 17, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Unfortunately I did not see this, but a couple of seasons back in the County Championship Tim Murtagh of Middlesex bowled a Worcestershire batsman, and in doing so knocked all three stumps out of the ground! This is an extremely rare occurrence, in fact it's hard to see how it could happen at all. Presumably the ball struck one side of middle with enough force to knock it over, and the ball deflected one way and the middle stump the other to complete the demolition. It must have been a particularly long walk back to the pavilion for the batsman!

  • jb633 on September 17, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    As a leggie myself it has got to be Shane Warne vs Mike Gatting at Old Trafford. The ball was absolutley perfect. It had drift, dip and spin and that was his first ball in an Ashes series, on a cold day. Leggies are not meant to bowl well in the cold lol. I also liked watching Akthar clean up Sachin in his hay day.

  • Naresh28 on September 17, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    No doubt it was always a pleasure to see AKTAR clean bowl batsman with sheer pace. Also liked to see the ASIF deliveries. This guy was a Pakistan McGrath with his accurancy.

  • Yagga175 on September 17, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Gotta love the "clean-bowled"!! 2 that stand out for me and both from Thommo - (i) the big sandshoe crusher that cleaned up Tony Greig in the 2nd innings of the 1974 Brisbane test and (ii) the ball that knocked over Deryck Murray in the 2nd innings of the 1976 Sydney test. It wasn''t just the lift he got that made Thommo a dangerous customer but his sheer speed through the air. Quickest I've seen ahead of Michael Holding.

  • on September 17, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    Easily caught behinds. Brad Haddin'd iincredible diving catch against Pakistan while the match was on the ropes was one of the most memorable sights I have ever seen in cricket.

  • on September 17, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Here's another one of my favourite of Wasim - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O5rVGc3XfY

  • yescric on September 17, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    I still remember the joy i got from watching Shoiab RIP apart Dravid and Tendulkar's wickets with successive yorkers.... Sheer pleasure even being a hard sachin fan then, i loved that sight and boy what an impact it had on the way i look at this great game and the great art(fast bowling)...

  • harshthakor on September 17, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I can never forget Michael Holding's bowling in the 1976 test at the Oval and the 1981 test v England at Bridgetown when he bowled Boycott.It was a sheer exhibition of bowling artistry.He strided in like an Antelope displaying poetry in motion.It was a spectacle witnessing his deliveries crashing through the batsman's defence like a sword piercing through flesh.I also can never forget his crashing through the gate of Mohinder Amarnath in 1983.

    For consistency Wasim Akram,Waqar younus and Joel Garner are at the top because of their mastery of the yorker.Wasim and Waqar mastered reverse swing while Garner was simply the most accurate paceman of them all.

  • on September 17, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    ive watched the waqar video five times and still can't get my head around how much it swung in

  • Balumekka on September 17, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    @VivtheGreatest: if you have any doubts about Aravinda de Silva's hook shots in Australia or England, please watch these for fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2A-OBaswSo&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXzktmwSngo&feature=related

  • satish619chandar on September 17, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    My favs : Bowled - Waqar Younis, Brett Lee, Umar Gul, Wasim Akram, Akthar. No offense to Warne or Murali but just love to see bowled by a fast bowler. And, No surprise to see 4 Pakistani bowlers who are marvellous in reverse swing and consistently bowls the yorkers. Hook - Ponting, Sir Viv, Richardson, KP, Kallis. No surprises we miss the SC batters over here. Cover drive, Straight drive and flick through the pads are the trademark shots of the SC batters. Slip - Dravid, Mark Taylor, Kallis, Mahela and Younis Khan. All the guys over here are just excellent while catching for pace/spin.

  • amannith on September 17, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    Rahul Dravid was amongst the most consistent of catchers. He has grabbed more than 200 catches in test cricket ..the most by any fielder . He never seemed to have dropped any. And talking about the best sight in cricket ,for me its definately Sachin Tendulkar. His straight drive against the bowling of greats like Glenn Mcgrath,brett lee,akhtar,akram. Also the best hook shot of Andrew Caddick ..i mean that was the longest of hook shot i have ever seen.He bats like a master. I can watch the two centuries he scored at Sharjah any number of times and still cant stop praising his shots..

  • on September 17, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    This article misses another: Malinga and his yorkers!

  • KiwiRocker- on September 17, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    Agreed with Rahul B that clean bowled is surely a great sight in the cricket. It makes so called God's of cricket to take a bow to the likes of Southees and Trent Boultt. The way Muhammad Asif cleaned up Tendulya in 2006 was a superb sight. Batsman not only got clean bowled, but as an appreciation also took a bow. I personally think even when a batsman hits a six, it does not send such an emphatic statement as to when a bowler cleans up a batsman's defences and batsman has his furniture shattered. Batsman who have problem with in swinging deliveries,.eg Tendulya are a sight to watch as when they get cleaned up..it is some sight to watch. I also would have liked to see Imran Khan's name there. Wasim Akram's magical bowls in WC were amazing, however, nothing would match to what Imran Khan bowled to Vishwannath in 1982. It was a delivery that Vishwanath left and it cleaned up his leg stump! If I recall it was Imran's 200 wicket. Waqar Younis had amazing banana curving yorker..Brilliant!

  • agha111 on September 12, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    the best sight in cricket was to play a safe hook short against the express bowler on a fast track without wearing a helmet.the class and grace of the game is gone forever. in modern game the art of batsman ship heavily depend of the body shield than the skills.

  • on September 11, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    That pic brought back memories of the first World Cup Final when the clypso Roy Fredrics hooked Lillie for a six on first ball and ended up treading on to his stumps and was more eager to see where the ball ended over the boundary ropes> would love to see the set of pics againg which say the story in pics in a series of snaps. thank you cricinfo

  • highveldhillbilly on September 11, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Wow almost no mention of Kallis. No surprise he doesn't come from the sub-continent Aus or England so he'll never get his just. If guys like Kallis, Hadlee etc were from India they'd also be politicians.

  • IndianInnerEdge on September 11, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Plenty ofgr8 sights-Jeff thomo's slingshot action, Imran's catwalk bowling action,thefrenzy of waqar/shoaib/lee, fluidity of Wasim,Allan Donald/ambrose...the BC Lara hook/pull with right leg in the air, the D gower/S fleming languid cover drive, the Sachin straightdrive, Sir Gary's graceful panther likestance, Sir Viv's swaggerwalk 2the wicket-leave alonehis batting histronics, The MA holding rollsroyce runup&action, the Jonty 'is it a bird-is ita plane-Inzi runout moment'....greatest general sight 4 me is alwaysenjoyed the hookshot-something primal about it, quickie bowls a perfume ball-the batsmantakes on the challenge-Wow...!Always like itwhen the opposition claps4a batsmanwho reaches a landmark/goodshot or if the batsman acknowledges agr8 delivery or gr8 fielding stop...For methe greatest sight wasthe Chennai crowd standing up to acknowledge the victroy lap of the Pak team in a close tense and classic test match in '99-Cricket was the winner that day-hope 2 c such other gr8 sights!

  • matbhuvi on September 11, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    Brian McMillan was another splendid slip fielder. The hands of bucket was hard to forget.

    For spin, none better than Rahul Dravid.

  • sucsab on September 11, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    How in life this writer could leave Richie Richardson out, he is probably the greatest hooker of all times and no mention of him, come on, what he did t Micheal Holding in Montserat and the Aussie or is it because he from a small island, Antigua. give me a break

  • harshthakor on September 11, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Amongst the left-handers Clive Lloyd championed the cause of the hook shot against great paceman like Lillee and Thomson as well as Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kalicharan.Remember Lloyd's century in the 1975 world cup final and Kalicharan's assault on Lillee and Thomson in the league game.Frederick brilliantly executed the hook shot when scoring 169 at Perth in 1975-76.

  • VivtheGreatest on September 11, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Mohinder Amarnath was as most have rightly pointed out a terrific player of the hook shot ,fighting fire with fire against the ferocious attack of the Windies of the 80's. Probably the best from the subcontinent. Greenidge , Kanhai and Gooch were also great exponents of the shot

  • on September 11, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    Ponting is really a good hooker in the recent past that I have watched and it's a great delight to see him play the shot.. Mahela Jayawardane is one of the highest catch takers (not being a WK), specially so good against spin bowling,. It's not fare to keep them both out of that five on my opinion.

  • harshthakor on September 11, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    The best exponent of the hook shot was without doubt Viv Richards who expressed the ferocity of a tiger.The best slip catchers I have seen were Mark Waugh,Greg Chappell and Ian Botham.

    Everton Weekes was also a great hooker as well as Rohan Kanhai,Graham Gooch,Ted Dexter,Ian Chappell,Majid Khan and Mohinder Amarnath.

  • harshthakor on September 11, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Majid Khan was the best exponent of the hook shot after Viv Richards.Remember how he tackled Lillee,Roberts,Wilis and Co.Majid defied Aussie and Carribean attacks on their grounds deploying the hook shot.Never forget Mohinder Amarnath who brilliantly executed the hook shot in 1983 in West Indies playing the great quartet better than any batmen ever.I will always remember Jimmy defying the great West Indian pacemen using the hook shot.Also Rohan Kanhai had a brilliant falling hook shot-his own creation.Sandip Patil also used the hook with auadacity against the Aussies in 1980-81 ,down under.

  • VivtheGreatest on September 11, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    @Loshaka S Amarasekhara, Like I said Aravinda could hook in the subcontinent. His performance in Australia and SA is very ordinary. His Test average in SA is 30 which speaks for itself. Real class hooking is an innings like Roy Fredricks taking on the Aussies on a lightning quick WACA pitch not bullying the likes of Venkatesh Prasad on some dead pitch in India or SriLanka

  • Rally_Windies on September 11, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    about slip catchers, I think Carl Hooper for all his potential with the bat the he failed to deliver ; he made up for it in the Slip position ..

    I remember watching him and Jeff Doujon (keeper) in ODI's . Doujon keeping wide to cover the vacant 1st slip and Hooper in floating 2nd Slip .....

    together they were effectively 3 slips ......

    Hooper would take a catch in what would have been 3rd slip and make it look like a standard catch ...

    but as for the topic of the article. My two favorite sites are: (1) a Brilliant Cover Drive (2) a fast bowler ripping out middle stump with the other two stumps still in the ground but moved apart by the force ... (i love to see the keeper dodging the cartwheeling said stump as well)

  • stark-truth on September 10, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    Slip catchers? I can tell of three whom he really missed out:

    Mark Waugh, the best of them all, Craig McMillan (hands like buckets), and Clive Lloyd "(used to catch 'em all coming his way via the fiery Windies pace quartet).

    Including Inzamam is a travesty in all fairness as much as calling him a great by any stretch of imagination is ;) I mean, come on..how about the many the lazy man never reacted to as they flew past?

  • on September 10, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    Lara's was undoubtedly the most stylish players ever. The best sight has to be one of his drives or flicks off his thighs

  • on September 10, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    Rohan Babulal kanhai was a great exponent of hook shot.

  • south_paw on September 10, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    Hook is arguably the best sight in cricket, perhaps bettered only by a full throttle reverse swinging yorker destroying the timber and the batsman.What satisfaction and pride a yorker would give to a fast bowler, hook gives that to a batsman. Ricky Ponting was surely one of the best hookers in his era. And not to forget Adam Gilchrist.

  • doubtingthomas on September 10, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    Many thanks to Cricinfo for initiating this series. Certainly such topics are bound to intrigue genuine cricket addicts. I even enjoyed watching a tailender of yester-years bat against a quality bowler, for the humour it provided. Courtney Walsh was everywhere fighting for his wicket against Glenn McGrath at Bridgetown in 1999 before Lara decided to end his agony. Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath's running between the wickets is a stuff of the legends.Though these would not qualify as the finest sights, but they contributed in making an excellent spectacle of Cricket. With increasing professionalism, playing Cricket has become more like a mechanical task tuned for maximum efficiency and utility, at the expense of grace and joy. I'd also recommend an article on the 'ugly sights of cricket', for instance the slog sweep, the helicopter shot, or the Dilscoop.

  • johnathonjosephs on September 10, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    How could the "jury" leave out Ponting for the hook shots and Dravid, Jayawardene, and Fleming from the slips? He included Inzamam for catching?

  • Stuart_online on September 10, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    Best sight in cricket ? Sobers doing anything..... But especially walking out to bat. I suppose in 1930 many an english bowler would have replied 'Bradman returning to the pavilion'

  • cricketeria on September 10, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    No one really hooks anymore. Pakistan and slip catching doesn't really go together. The W's would each have a hundred more wickets if the fielders held on to their catches. Also for those talking about Dravid, you know, Tendulkar can catch too. He took some slip catches....wait...no? Oh well, Tendulkar! ;)

  • on September 10, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    People yelling about Dravid or Waugh jr. missing from slip fielder's list - there's a little subheader : "My favourite slippers" .. not "World's best slippers". Being from India, I'm hugely thankful for what Rahul Dravid brought to our slip cordon (apart from the batting crease of course!). He wasn't a natural, and his immense record is a testament to his work ethic and professionalism. But if we're talking about best slip fielders - I probably wouldn't name him - he missed few, but he also took few which were impossible for others. IMHO if there are two names I'd add to the list Osman has, it'd be Mark Waugh and Brian McMillan. Anyone who has seen him live would recall McMillan's bucket hands, instinct and surprising agility for a man his size.

  • Krishnaraj1983 on September 10, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    what about Azharuddin!!..he was outstanding as well.

  • on September 10, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    hooking with out the helmet is the best thing to see in cricket

  • alagu4ever_india4ever on September 10, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Where de hell is Rahul Dravid's name in de slip catchers list ?

  • Thrissurpooram on September 10, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Best sights for me: a) Top quality batsman being clean bowled via a yorker, loosing his balance and seeing the stumps cartwheel towards the keeper :-) b) Top quality batsman having his offstump uprooted by a delivery that JUST beats him and kisses the stumps c) A pull of a short ball over the midwicket for a six.

  • rahulcricket007 on September 10, 2012, 13:22 GMT


  • on September 10, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    @VivtheGreatest just search for "aravinda " in youtube and you'll see some of his great innings against aussies including the demolishing Bret Lee during the very last days of his career.Aravinda never got the exposure or recognition he deserved.Mainly due to the fact for more than a half of his career he was playing for a team labelled as a minnow .

  • Big_Chikka on September 10, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    Roy was also a very stylish operator, you maybe lucky to catch a clip or two of his on youtube. As for Arvinda, and Viv no need to say anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Meety on September 10, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Ponting was the best IMO. I really don't remember Sir Vivi actually hooking, they were really pull shots (from memory), then again so was most of Punter's.

  • Akshita29 on September 10, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Anderson used to be a good slip fielder. Not any more. He dropped many loly pop catches in the SA series . And clearly Mark Waugh was the best of slip catchers I have seen.

  • bharath74 on September 10, 2012, 10:40 GMT


  • chapathishot on September 10, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    No one has any doubt over Tubby Taylor or Mad Max Aravinda being in the list .I always though that Aravinda has not got the credit he deserved .On his day he was far destructive than Viv Richards.I always loved to see him bat .

  • chapathishot on September 10, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    Those who are commenting on why so and so is not in the list ,Writers have chosen there favorites and they have every right to do that

  • on September 10, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    A name seems to be missing in your list and that is none other than Rahul Dravid. Although he might have not held many on fast bowling, but caught dravid bowled kumble is nearly a world record....One of the greatest slip fielder ever..

  • amilag on September 10, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    Aravinda on hook, one of the best sight of cricket.What a player he was...

  • brittop on September 10, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Agree the hook shot is a great sight. Always puzzles me why it's considered a "compulsion" or "addiction" when it's played even when there's men back. No-one suggests driving at a swinging ball outside off with 4 slips is an addiction.

  • on September 10, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    plz give us the matches dates.....live matches dates...

  • on September 10, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    And the quiet Kallis as slip fielder? Are you guys so blind? Can't even read present statistics?

  • Yagga175 on September 10, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    No issue with either list as they are the author's opinions and we al have our own, don't we?? Still never seen a more fearless hooker than Roy Fredericks who just didn't care how fast the bowling was and whose 169 at Perth in December 1975 has to be one of the benchmarks of modern attacking opening batting. And oh for some film of Stan McCabe taking on Larwood and Voce ay Sydney back in 1932/33 on the Bodyline tour.

    As for silppers I would certainly include the wonderful Carl Hooper who in grace and anticipation yields noting to mark Waugh.

  • Punter_28 on September 10, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Where are Ozzies Mark Waugh, Chappel Brothers, Sir Gary among the best slip catchers? Why Greenidge , Sir Gary , Punter names are missing from the list of hookers ? Also, Mohinder Amarnath... I remember that bot in 1976 & 1983 WI tours the likes of Roberts , Holding, Marshall , Garner etc., kept peppering him with their famous perfume balls and he went relentlessly hooking them on and on and in one particular case his face full bandaged!!!

  • moBlue on September 10, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    @Rahul Panchmatia: yes!!! kotla in 1983 and gavaskar hooking marshall - repeatedly!!! scintillating stuff after marshall had embarrassed gavaskar by one to the rib cage that he fended off awkwardly straight into the welcoming palms of square leg en route to 2 cheap dismissals in the previous test! *that* inning made me badly wanna watch sunny's 64 and 67 on debut and then the 220 and 110 that followed in the WI in 1971... a dream that is still unfulfilled! you are also right that mohinder (and later VVS) could hook anyone - the former during a dream tour of the WI just before the kotla test, and the latter hooking pollock - *for 6!* - en route to his usual bedazzling 28 or a 32 in the first (sehwag's debut) test against SA on a super-fast pitch in johannesberg in T1 on day 1 in 2002!

  • on September 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    aussies are always good 'pullers' and 'hookers'....ponting is one of their best in modern days ... even hussey whose first shot in international cricket , i believe , was a pull shot

  • Chesty-la-roux on September 10, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    Surely there can be no better sight in cricket than a team under the pump, grinding out a draw on day five. Men all round the bat and the ball spitting unpredictably of a worn pitch, fantastic.

  • Pratik_vodka on September 10, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    For me what the beauty of cricket that's stuck in my head is Alan Donald Vs Atherton and Ambrose V Steve Waugh. The sight of an Angry fast bowler running in to smash a batman's head off and the batter standing his ground and taking on the challenge. The beauty for me is the sight of battle between bat and bowl and not the victory of one or the other (Victory being batsman caught at slip or hooked away for four)

  • on September 10, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Surely Majid Khan deserves a mention for hooking Lillee and Thommo for six in Australia '79?

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    I don't get why people are up in arms about certain cricketers being left out. It is the author's choice. IT IS SUBJECTIVE. They picked their personal favourites. You don't agree. Such is life, get over it!

  • VivtheGreatest on September 10, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    How about Roy Fredricks and Ricky Ponting in that list of great hookers. Aravinda is overrated. He could hook average bowlers on flat wickets but his performances in Australia and SA on lively wickets was pretty ordinary

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    For me the best hooker of all times is still Mohinder Amarnath. In spite of taking several blows on the shoulder and once on his head, he continued his aggressive hooking against all fast bolwers. Of all the cricket that I have watched, the most special counter attack on short pitched bowling was still by Sunil Gavaskar against a ferocious WI attack led by Malcolm Marshall at the Ferozshah Kotla in 1983. You can read about this innings at http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/452776.html

  • on September 10, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    aamer's no ball was he best one :)

  • thekobra on September 10, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Oops meant Andrew Hilditch!

  • thekobra on September 10, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    Jim Hilditch. Now theres a compulsive hooker if I've ever seen one! Oh the times he used to get out doing that! :D

  • eZoha on September 10, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    A good top order batsman squared up by a outswinger bowled at 90mph and caught at slips. That's the best.

  • on September 10, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    Where is Punter? Ricky Ponting, the best hooker and puller I've ever seen.

  • on September 10, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    @thruthecovers totally agree with you.The cover drive bisecting fielders at cover and extra cover or extra cover and mid-off is just an absolute joy to watch.The timing,placement,middling,technique,it has everything yet it's still very elegant and classy.I just love Punter and recently Prior or de Villiers for their exquisite cover drives.Just fantastic to watch

  • Lermy on September 10, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    My enduring memory was watching a former test batsman facing a really quick bowler. You couldn't think anyone could play controlled shots against such pace, and yet there he was, like a matador evading the lethal thunderbolts and deflecting them deftly to the point boundary. Beautiful, poetic, graceful, elegant, yet powerful.

  • on September 10, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    aravinda de silva had the best hook shots and never seen a such a talented player in sri lanka and in rest of the world after him... it was on of his trademark shots and never hesitate to play it to any bowler....

  • vertical on September 5, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Ha! This is mine too watching a quickie like Roberts or Steyn steaming in with a vicious outswinger ,the batsman forced to play and caught at second slip.That is another reason I enjoy watching cricket in Aus/Eng more than the slow low pitches of subcontinent.The fast bowlers(not military medium) make this game worthwhile to watch for me.I hope to see Dharamsala being used for Tests because it is one of the quickest in India emulating conditions similar to Eng.

  • thruthecovers on September 4, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    My most favorite sight in cricket is the coverdrive that splits cover and extra cover, both fieldsman turning to chase as the ball comes towards them. Funny enough, I can only recall this happening mostly in ENG. I don't know, there is just something about the perfect coverdrive and fielders trying their best to cut it off (run it down) but to no avail. Sometimes it is that perfect, both fieldsmen turn as one and starts chasing!! Beauty

  • MunafAhmed811 on September 4, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Best sight: Yuvi's six sixes in T20-2007 cup

  • MunafAhmed811 on September 4, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Brian McMillan was exceptional. Huge hands and quick reflexes. Never gave impression he would ever drop a catch ever. Rahul Dravid. Excellent. Gavaskar too. but for me best sight of a catch behind stumps (not slips) was Sreesanth catch of Misbah in 2007 final and before that in same tournament Karthiks catch in slip against SA.

  • zsn on September 4, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    One of my favorite descriptions about cricket was by one of my favorite author, who wrote under the pseudonym "Sujatha". It loosely translates (from Tamil) as follows: As the fast bowler delivers the ball, it crosses the batsman as a temptress. The batsman is well advised to ignore it. However, if he so much as thinks about attempting to kiss her he should remember that there is whole population waiting in the slip area to catch it. I should also point out that putting extra slips is more about intimidation and psychological warfare than functionality. Unless the original four slips and gully have concrete feet, adding that fifth slip does absolutely nothing! Adding that second gully on top of that fifth slips is pure psy-ops at its best!!

  • on September 4, 2012, 13:17 GMT

    where's the "big Cat", Clive loyd in the list or a certain Rahul Dravid.......?

  • on September 4, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    Before posting comments, please do note that the list of slip fielders are titles "My favourite slippers" and not "The best slip fielders that ever existed!". Everyone is entitled to their own opinion so please don't get offended if Mahela or Waugh aren't in here

  • Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on September 4, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    There are too many sights that make our beloved sport spectacular, so it's very hard to choose one best sight; though a slip catch should be amongst the chosen few. A catch in front of wicket comes too directly, a skier is busy following the laws of motion and gravity et al, a 'snick' to the keeper doesn't involve a lot of angle; but a slip catch is magic with its idiosyncratic angles and pace. Good unique choice Osman - come back to cricinfo! Cheers!

  • 2009SHAMZ on September 4, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    slip fielders are fascinating. Mark Waugh used to make catching a delight to watch. Taylor another super slip-man and waht abt Warne, ponting, Stephen Fleming

  • mtalhas on September 4, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    lol :) tendulkar?...i think his fans want team india to be made up of 11 players all being saching tendulkar

  • i_dieforcricket on September 4, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    It's really sad not to see the names of mark waugh, Rahul Dravid and Keith Stackpole in that list of all time best slip fielders.

  • on September 4, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    No mention of Mahela Jayawardene??

  • on September 4, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    Great piece. I think the other thing that is fascinating about slip fielding is that the cordon has its own dynamic - first behind the keeper, second a bit in front, third moving round the arc, and so on. Further to that, the chance of a particular slipper being brought into play depends on the bowling angle, the bounce of the pitch, and how much the batsman swings.

  • vk6848 on September 4, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    Good one, ultrasnow :-), but leaving cheerleaders aside, A cordon of slips keeper gully and close fielders in whites, a typhoon (Dennis Lillee or Fred Trueman perhaps) running in to bowl and a slip catch that you would have missed if you blinked, would indeed be my best cricketing sight. I have been told that Bob Simpson and Paul Sheehan of Australia and Colin Cowdrey of England were magic slip fielders. I suspect Cowdrey was similar to Inzy? Sure there have been so many great slippers including Mark Waugh, Mark Taylor, Rahul Dravid (until his last series)- the list is too long. I have seen Ian Botham pulling off miraculous catches and can imagine the best cricketer of all time, Garfield Sobers doing the same. -- Vasanth Kumar

  • on September 3, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    how can u forget mark waugh the greatest ever slip fielder... ricky ponting is onne of the best along with shane warne ..

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    @ shafaet 001. Whenever ther is a talk abt cricket the name called tendulkar will always come with it. Whether u like it or not

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    @ shafaet 001. Whenever ther is a talk abt cricket the name called tendulkar will always come with it. Whether u like it or not

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    @ shafaet 001. Whenever ther is a talk abt cricket the name called tendulkar will always come with it. Whether u like it or not

  • voice_of_reason on September 3, 2012, 20:50 GMT

    Interesting and somewhat heartening that nobody's favourite sight (so far) is a batsman using a massive piece of willow to slog it out of the ground for another DLF maximum. let's hope that does not come along later in this series.

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    Watching a bowler bowling a big no ball

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    Watching a bowler bowling a big no ball

  • warneneverchuck on September 3, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    Leaving the ball outside of by the wall

  • voice_of_reason on September 3, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    There have been many wonderful slip fielders and all of those mentioned above, and commented on below, are worthy of note. It's a fantastic site to see an umbrella cordon of slips and gulleys crouched ready to reward a quick bowler's efforts. Arguably the first such umbrella cordons were those used by England in the infamous Bodyline tour, when up to six fielders would be in a cordon around the batsman. The difference of course was that they were on the leg side and the bowler wasn't aiming for the outside edge. Watching Ian Chappell's Australians, Clive Lloyd's then Viv Richards' West Indian teams utilise the slips to full effect meant that there could be no weak links. It was a superb sight and is rarely seen now. When Harmison ran through the West Indies in Kingston in 2004 it was one of the few times I had seen it since the demise of the great WI team.

  • brittop on September 3, 2012, 19:27 GMT

    I love the way people are aghast at someone else's favourite slippers - and then telling them who they should have in their list!

  • ultrasnow on September 3, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    The cheerleaders, of course ..........

  • Daveptee on September 3, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    Greatest sight in cricket...Wasim and Waqar bowling in tandem,period!

  • on September 3, 2012, 17:57 GMT

    I remember Brain Mcmillian taking a stunner in slips

  • Shafaet_001 on September 3, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    I knew someone would bring tendulkar even in this article and DaGameChanger proved me right.

  • Siva_cric_info on September 3, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    Hey Guys..Please count in Dravid

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    My favourite sight is 6 or 7 fielders (excluding keeper and bowler) crowding round the batsman when a spinner is bowling. If it leads to a catch, even better.

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    Notice how casually Inzamam is standing as the bowler runs in to bowl... no crouching... no hands on knees... almost disinterested in the proceedings!! And suddenly, out of nowhere he pulls of a blinder!! Like his batting, he made slip catches look easy!!

  • DaGameChanger on September 3, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    You dont need TWO to TANGO for this man..SEHWAG can alone provide you all that THRILL when on song..Having Tendulkar on the other side as a spectator is a BONUS..

  • on September 3, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    How on earth is Mahela's name not mentioned? One of the most reliable slip fielders of all time.

    As for the best sight, I think its a quickly like Donald, Shoib, Brett or Freddie bowling that perfect bouncer aiming at the badge on the helmet, Its even better on slow motion when you see the batsman's eyes. Not a pretty sight if they get hit though. Wasim or Steyn pitching it on leg and taking off the off pole is not bad either.

  • Highflyer_GP on September 3, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    Anderson ahead of Kallis? lol

  • on September 3, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    There is a surprise omission on my books. Mark Waugh. As far as I am concerned, the best slipsman of our times. Warne and McGrath owe so many of their wickets to those wonderful hands.

  • c-rashed on September 3, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Second year, med school. Our team was playing a senior class. First over, 2 dots. Third ball the batsman tries to guide it past the slip cordon, the flew high off the outside edge, First slip was Feisal, he just threw his hands, and caught the ball high over his head. Nearly 30 years on I still remember the catch.

  • punter-gilly-haydos-mcgrath-warne on September 3, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    What??!! a slip cordon without Mark Waugh would be silly as the news papers called him "the fielder who can catch pigeons" and what about Bobby Simpson just listen to "Bowl at Boycs" http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/video_audio/580084.html?genre=21 and have a listen to what Geoff Boycott has to say

  • gudolerhum on September 3, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Another for the list pf great slippers - Colin Cowdrey. Many viewers may have been deceived by the ease of his catching. I think he had excellent anticipation and obviously great eyesight and reflexes which, combined, made his catching look like as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Leg slip is an entirely different proposition, far more difficult as one usually does not see the ball until appears from around the batsman's pads. This reduces the reaction time. Sir Garfield Sobers was one of the greatest slippers and also a fantastic leg slipper or short leg fielder, truly the most versatile individual to have ever played the game. Bobby Simpson, one not to be omitted, the list could be very long.

  • on September 3, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    he forgot brian lara in the slips........brilliant slip fielder as well

  • on September 3, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Shoaib Akhter and Waqar Younis running in, and roaring like lions for lbws, thats probably is the best sight of all

  • wasimahm on September 3, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    I'd like to see Mark Waugh and Dravid's names there.Perhaps Dravid was better when standing in the position for spinners.

  • on September 3, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Can someone tell me please - does "caught behind" only refer to catches taken by the keeper, or does it include edges taken in the slips?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on September 3, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Anderson?? ROFL. Kallis and Waugh are the best slippers Ive seen.

  • on September 3, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    This is beautiful writing. As for who I would watch at the Slips, it'd be the two Marks: Waugh and Taylor. The former is the greatest catcher of the cricket ball I have ever seen. I imagine a cricket ball, if it was animate, celebrating at the prospect of being caught by Mark Waugh.

  • Ashwin07 on September 3, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    This...http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/200769.html?object=64060 'Majestic' doesn't quite do justice to the aesthetics of this shot And as mentioned many times, the sight of an express fast bowler steaming in with a new cherry on the first morning of the summer of cricket (fav Lee & Steyn) gives you goosebumps!!!

  • hunt_ayush on September 3, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    u dont like rahul dravid as slip catcher?????

  • on September 3, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    Great read. I miss content written by Osman Samiuddin! No, visiting the nationals website is not an option.

  • on September 3, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    I'd add Mark Waugh to that list of slip catchers.

  • randikaayya on September 3, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    Jayawardena will make the list although Mark Waugh would take the price. Another great slipper was Stephen Fleming from NZ

  • on September 3, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    @Saket Waghmode : Thanks for the sarcasm. These are OSMAN's favourites, and he happens to be a Pakistani! Stands to reason that we Pakistanis would appreciate good fielding by our players more than say Australians would. But Younis isn't merely the best of a bad bunch, he's good enough for anyone. What little I saw of Inzy, having started watching cricket late, he was an excellent catcher. Catching never had anything to do with ground fielding anyway.

  • roadrunner440 on September 3, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    Steve Waugh b Shayne O'Connor 96

    Nz vs Aus at the Waca, Saturday 22nd of November 1997.

    Left arm fast medium Shayne o'conner bowls Steve Waugh with an unplayable ball that starts going across the right hander aiming for about third slip and swinging in late as Waugh attempted to drive through the offside.

  • on September 3, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Brett Lee's run up, Sachin's straight drives, Pontings hooks and pulls, Dravid's cover drives, laxman's flicks are some of my personal favourites

  • Ubaidaleem on September 3, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    When it comes to slip catching I think Mark waugh and Kallis are in different league

  • Indian_Fan09 on September 3, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    Mahela Jaywardane would make my list!! I watched cricket late 90s onwards and I personally think Mark Waugh is the best slipper I have seen so far!! He would catch bullets from the slips!!

  • on September 3, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    Mark Waugh. His famous quote on slip catches: You are judged by how much you miss rather than how much you caught. That 's worth Hall of Fame and Dravid of course. Azhar made it look so easy and his nonchalant walk back towards fine leg is a sight that I shall never forget.

  • Aravind_always on September 3, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    Rahul Dravid's cover drive..best sight in cricket..

  • chinamen on September 3, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    In the 70 - 80 's there were many top class slip catchers. AUS -Chappel brothers , WI - Greenidge , Richards , Lloyd, India - Gavaskar , Vengsarkar, Venkat, Wadekar

  • 07sanjeewakaru on September 3, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    any good fast bowler with long runup with beautiful action steaming in to the crease and bowl a perfect swinger in or out.

  • on September 3, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    my two favourite moments in cricket are 1) seeing a fast bowler uproot the batsman's stumps and the stumps cartwheeling backwards. 2) A batsmen driving the ball straight past the non-strikers stumps, and holding the pose they use. The single best shot to be used by a batsman

  • aasife_gong on September 3, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    LOL @Saket . What about Azharuddin and trescothick? Taylor is one of the bests no doubt.

  • Faridoon on September 3, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    There's a story about Inzi that is told by Rameez Raja (I believe). While standing in the slips during a game he noticed that Inzi was unusually stationary and constantly in the catching pose. Upon inquiry, Inzi told Rameez that he was trying to sleep! He justified this by saying that the pitch is slow and bowlers are medium pacers, hence, there is no chance for a slip catch!!

  • on September 3, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Brian Mcmillan was a remarkable slip fielder if anyone remembers him. South Africa 1990s.

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Anything in whites moments that occur in PJs just dont count in my oppinion

  • Biggus on September 3, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    @ mrmonty- Ian Botham was indeed a fine slipper as many of our Australian batsmen over the years can attest to. Mention of his name in that context is in no way inappropriate. Give credit where it is due mate.

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Sachin's straight drive and straight six against Michael Kasprowicz in Sharjah cup final 1998 vs Australia !!!!!

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    I would say mahela is the best

  • Anjana_nd on September 3, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    How can you forget Mahela Jayawardena as one of the best (if not the best) Slip catcher playing international cricket today. His catches in the slips which helped Chaminda Vass and recently Thissara Perera get their Hat-tricks and also helped Murali get 800 wickets are some of the best out there. I think he is the best slip catcher under pressure.

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    For me the most thrilling moment is - a fast bowler's in-swinging yorker uprooting the stumps. Shoots my adrenalin levels right up there.

  • Romanticstud on September 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Under the slippers you could've put Jaques Kallis and Brian McMillan, both were excellent slip fielders ...

  • mrmonty on September 3, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Ian Botham a Slipper? A more blasphemous statement has not been uttered? No Rahul Dravid or Mark Waugh!

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Just surprised all five weren't from Pakistan....

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Can you please put the video for Jimmy Anderson? I guess, its not been linked....

  • Tahir_Anjum on September 3, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    I was watching live when Younis Khan took that brilliant catch... WoW what a sight that was.. i love to see slips in test matches and remember that Australia strategy of 5 slips... Its really beauty of the game.. top class work Osman bhai.. keep it up

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  • Tahir_Anjum on September 3, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    I was watching live when Younis Khan took that brilliant catch... WoW what a sight that was.. i love to see slips in test matches and remember that Australia strategy of 5 slips... Its really beauty of the game.. top class work Osman bhai.. keep it up

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Can you please put the video for Jimmy Anderson? I guess, its not been linked....

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Just surprised all five weren't from Pakistan....

  • mrmonty on September 3, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Ian Botham a Slipper? A more blasphemous statement has not been uttered? No Rahul Dravid or Mark Waugh!

  • Romanticstud on September 3, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    Under the slippers you could've put Jaques Kallis and Brian McMillan, both were excellent slip fielders ...

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    For me the most thrilling moment is - a fast bowler's in-swinging yorker uprooting the stumps. Shoots my adrenalin levels right up there.

  • Anjana_nd on September 3, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    How can you forget Mahela Jayawardena as one of the best (if not the best) Slip catcher playing international cricket today. His catches in the slips which helped Chaminda Vass and recently Thissara Perera get their Hat-tricks and also helped Murali get 800 wickets are some of the best out there. I think he is the best slip catcher under pressure.

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    I would say mahela is the best

  • on September 3, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Sachin's straight drive and straight six against Michael Kasprowicz in Sharjah cup final 1998 vs Australia !!!!!

  • Biggus on September 3, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    @ mrmonty- Ian Botham was indeed a fine slipper as many of our Australian batsmen over the years can attest to. Mention of his name in that context is in no way inappropriate. Give credit where it is due mate.