Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes could be considered as the first player in world cricket to have taken fielding seriously who went on to become arguably the best fielder ever to grace the game.
With his agility and grit to stop the ball from reaching the boundary, Rhodes raised the standards high for the rest of the players in world cricket.
Recently in a video posted by ICC, the former South African picked his top five fielders from the modern era. There were no big surprises as he picked AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds in his list. The only thing that came as a shocker was his decision to pick Suresh Raina. Rhodes picked the Indian player above his countrymen de Villiers and Gibbs. Former England skipper Paul Collingwood also made into the list.
“I have been a massive fan of Suresh Raina, for forever; ever since he started playing,” Rhodes told the ICC website.
“I know what the conditions of the fields are in India, and every time he practices, every time he dives, it’s gonna be so much of heat. He doesn’t even give a second hesitation of should I have dived or shouldn’t have dived,” he added.
Raina has been one of the most athletic players to play for India and now the praise from Rhodes, who is also a former fielding coach of Mumbai Indians in IPL will put a full stop on the best fielder argument.
The 32-year-old last played for the country in 2018 where he played against England at Leeds, but he managed to score only one run and India faced a heavy defeat by 8 wickets.
Rhodes hailed his acrobatics abilities at every position in the fielding department and revealed the reason why he reserved high praise for the Uttar Pradesh cricketer.
“He goes for the ball which pretty much what my philosophy is, ‘if you don’t go, you’ll never know’ and he has done that. He has taken great catches in the slips and in the outfield and in the circle. I have loved watching Suresh Raina. He is my number one fielder,” he added.