Close on the heels of its list of “Best Ever” Test and One day International batsmen and bowlers, the International Cricket Council today released the list of the Best fielders of all time and like the previously released rankings, this one is all set to lead, once again, to a reevaluation of what constitutes cricketing excellence.
Releasing the list, ICC representative said that a complicated, proprietary ranking function was used to create this list weighing in factors like “fitness”, “grace”, “enthusiasm” and most importantly “match impact” using the same algorithm that was used to rank batsmen and bowlers.
Needless to say, the list is surprising. Phil Tufnell, famous for fielding displays like this [Video] is at the top of the list. Monty Panesar, dubbed the Second Tufnell, and Sourav Ganguly come in a close second and third.
Jonty Rhodes languishes at number 58 and Ricky Ponting is 46.
Arun Lal, recently awarded ICC’s commentator of the millennium and Filmfare Ram-banaye jodi along with Rameez Raja [video here], spoke exclusively to GBTV about his reactions on the latest rankings.Trying to summarize Arun Lal’s reactions, which he took the greater part of two hours to get across, this correspondent found that he did not say even one thing of any importance. He however adjusted his necktie six times, combed his hair eleven times, and looked at flying birds seven times.
Sandip Patil, about whom it was said that “when he circled beneath a high catch, no-one could tell if he was trying to catch the ball or whether he was praying to God with his fingers pointed heavenwards” seemed a bit miffed to be number 7 on the list. Talking about Dwayne Leverock who came in at number 4, a position Patil thought he deserved, he remarked cattily that the weight of the person must have been in the numerator of the top secret formula. If not for physical weight, how else can Hayden come ahead of Sachin Tendulkar in the rankings of all-time great batsmen !
Deep Dasgupta was also disappointed that he was not in the top 10. When pointed out that wicketkeepers were deliberately kept out of the scope of the list, Deep said “To main kaunsa wicketkeeper hoon?” Blaming his exclusion on the fact that he plays for the ICL, Deep said that he was sure he would get a honorable place in the list for all the one-drop one-hand catches he had taken in the course of his career.
There was not all doom and gloom however. A procession was taken out in Behala, Calcutta celebrating the presence of local hero Dada in the top three. Said Santosh Karmakar to GBTV: “Two players from Bengal—Dada and Dilip Doshi are in the top 10 List. Jai Bangla ! Jai Banglar “Double D”–Dada and Doshi !”
Not so pleased however were the supporters of Javagal Srinath (number 12 on the list)—all two of them.
Said one: ” After all these years of throwing underhand and circling his arms around to throw in for the deep, after all these years of giving three runs when there was two, Srinath has once again been deprived of his rightful place in the Top 10.” Said the other “I don’t want to talk about myself”.
However the most opposition to the rankings was witnessed in Pakistan where fans were so angry that Inzamam ul Haque was not even on the list that a few of them got on a boat and started sailing towards Mumbai without making any hotel reservations . Said one commentator who did not want to be named (he once pointed a bat at Venkatesh Prasad, number 15 on the list) ” This once again shows India’s influence inside the ICC. We all knew that India were going to take a vendetta out on “Alu” ul Haque the day Pakistan imposed a 25% import duty on Indian potatoes in retaliation for India saying that Kasab is a Pakistani.
Some cricket fans however are skeptical about the whole ranking endeavor of the ICC.
“If there is anything that shows what a farce these rankings are—in the bowling list for Tests, Steyn comes before Donald and Lillee ! I don’t know if they pulled this list from chits in a hat or drew straws or used a mathematical algorithm, my only question is that did common sense enter anywhere into the ranking process?” asked an irate cricket fan.
Maninder Singh, who has been for the last few weeks wearing a T-shirt that says “I am one rank above Wasim Akram in the list of great ODI bowlers” pooh-poohed away the skepticism saying that the rankings confirmed something he had been saying for many years now, that his bowling record [rank 14] was better than Wasim Akram [rank 15] and Kapil Dev [rank 17], a statement that he repeated so often that before the rankings came out, people mistakenly thought he was on illegal drugs.
And coming up next on GBTV….Delhi woman denies charges of making obscene calls to firemen….[Fade out music: "In the night no control, kya karoon kuch to bol"]
[Legal disclaimer: This is a spoof. No list like this has ever came out. Yet. The ICC Test and ODI lists are however, sad to say, very real.]