We've taken a break from Lists on batting and bowling this week, and looked at fielding instead: who took catches in the most consecutive Tests, who went the most successive Tests without a catch, and those with the highest proportion of matches with and without a catch. We've excluded wicketkeepers, though, so players other than Boucher, Gilchrist and Healy get a look in.
Peter Richardson, an England left-hand batsman who played 34 Tests in the 1950s and 60s, went a 23-match stretch without taking a catch. It's the highest number of consecutive games anyone has gone without a catch. Richardson eventually finished with only six catches in his career. Most of the players in the table below - Courtney Walsh is second with 22 consecutive catch-less matches - are bowlers, largely because they spent most of their time in the outfield rather than at prime catching positions, the preserve of captains and batsmen. Unfortunately, no records exist for drops, so it's impossible to know if they had opportunities to end these barren patches or not.
The highest number of Tests a player went at the start of a career before taking a catch is 16. Geoff Pullar made his debut for England in July 1959 and it wasn't until the Lahore Test in 1961 that he caught one - Mushtaq Mohammad off David Allen. He took only one more catch in his last 11 Tests - making it only two catches in 49 innings. Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Sami played their first 15 Tests without taking a catch. McGrath finished with only 38 in 124 Tests, while Sami has seven from 34 matches. One of McGrath's efforts, though, the one to dismiss Michael Vaughan at the Adelaide Oval in 2002, is among the best ever.
The most consecutive Tests in which a player has taken a catch belongs to Bob Simpson, who caught at least one batsman in 27 matches in a row between July 1961 and May 1965. He is nine matches clear of Rahul Dravid in second place, followed by Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh, all of whom are slip specialists. Simpson's 110 catches came in 52 out of 62 Tests, his 83.87% of matches with catches being the third highest over all.
Jacques Kallis is presently on a catching-streak of 13 Tests, having most recently taken Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra at Eden Gardens in February this year. Given that he stands at slip, and rarely drops any, he has a fair chance of climbing up the table in the coming years. West Indian batsman Runako Morton has the highest proportion of matches with catches - 86% - having taken 20 catches in 13 out of his 15 matches.
Offspinner Tim May didn't take a catch for Australia in an ODI for seven years. He took one off his own bowling on debut in 1987, but his barren streak began in his second game and lasted for 43 more. May finally took two catches against West Indies in Barbados in 1995, and played just one more ODI. He took catches in only two matches out of his 47.
Catches in ODIs are evidently harder to come by because the streaks without one are longer and the ones with a catch are shorter. Only two players - Allan Border and Graeme Smith - have taken a catch in nine consecutive ODIs. Carl Hooper is the only one to appear twice in the table below - he had two streaks of six matches with catches, in 1988-89 and 1993.
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