‘Best Ever’ Jonty Rhodes Picks Suresh Raina as Best Modern Fielder

Find out who made the list of top-five fielders as picked by the legendary South African, the original ‘Superman’.

2 min read
File photo of Jonty Rhodes and Suresh Raina from IPL 2016.

You know you’ve done something special when you get the stamp of approval from the finest in your field.

The field, in this context, is the literal cricket field – and few would argue that there has been a finer proponent of fielding in the game than Jonty Rhodes.

But who does Jonty think is the best fielder in modern day cricket? It’s a treat for Indian fans, because the answer, according to South Africa’s ‘Superman’ on the field, is Suresh Raina.

“I have loved watching Suresh Raina, he is my number one fielder. I have been a massive fan ever since he started playing.”
Jonty Rhodes

Rhodes was asked by ICC to pick his five favourite fielders in the modern game, and the video, released by world governing body on its social media handles on Wednesday, 13 February, revealed his choices.

The 49-year-old, who has donned the hat of fielding coach for several teams post retirement, including the South African national team and Mumbai Indians in the IPL, picked an eclectic mix which included one Australian, one Englishman and two South Africans in addition to Raina.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and current Indian captain Virat Kohli were two notable absentees on Rhodes’ list, which otherwise comprised of pretty much the best fielders in international cricket over the past two decades.

Rhodes put two-time World Cup winner Andrew Symonds of Australia at number five, with compatriot Herschelle Gibbs, who often manned the in-field for South Africa alongside Rhodes, slotting in at four.

The third place on Rhodes’ list went to former England captain Paul Collingwood, while recently-retired Proteas legend AB de Villiers was second according to the man widely considered the greatest fielder in the game.

But the pride of the place went to India’s 2011 World Cup winner, for whom Rhodes reserved the highest praise – even comparing Raina’s presence on the field to his own.

“Number one for me is Suresh Raina. I have been a massive fan of Suresh Raina, for forever, ever since he started playing. I love AB de Villiers, but maybe I’m a bit biased because [he is] South African, he’s a bit like my son,” said Rhodes.

“But Suresh Raina, who plays in India all the time – I know what the conditions of the fields are. Every time he practices, every time he dives, it’ going to be sore. He doesn’t give a second’s hesitation; ‘should I dive, shouldn’t I dive?’

“He goes for the ball, which pretty much was my philosophy – if you don’t go, you’ll never know. He has done that, taking great catches in the slips, in the outfield, in the circle. I have loved watching Suresh Raina. He is my number one fielder.”
Jonty Rhodes

Raina hasn’t donned India colours too frequently in recent times, but remains one of only five Indians to have taken over 100 catches in ODIs, excluding wicketkeepers. He also remains the fielder with the most catches in the Indian Premier League, having held 95 catches in 176 games for Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Lions.

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