• The Specialist Fielder

The Specialist Fielder's All Time Test XI

Updated: May 27, 2020

The art of being a Specialist Fielder summarised through my all-time Test XI. My true idols and something for every bit part Saturday club cricketer to aspire towards.

1. Jonty Rhodes ©

Captain, Leader, Legend. The epitome of everything it means to be a specialist fielder. Going way past his sell-by date in the test team before finally being put out of his batting misery by Hansie Conje. Revelled by former and current players, frequently voted the best Fielder of all time; could there really be anyone else to lead us?

2. Paul Collingwood

Divorced. Bats 8. Doesn't bowl. Love a long barrier. Mum makes a good tea. First in the showers, last out. It’s like he modelled himself on me. Ticks every box for the International cricket specialist fielder, often dinning out on a “special” catch when runs and wickets were eluding him. A true legend amongst us fielding fanatics and current England cricket fielding coach, need I say more?

3. James Taylor

Dubbed as a potential future captain of this XI before his cricket career was cut dramatically short, so it didn’t seem fair to leave him out. Having now gone full corporate piggy as an England selector there’s a case for him to be in management, but I like to remember the good old days when he was one of our own strutting his stuff at short leg. CYA VILAS (video below).

4. Colin De Granhomme

Now the dust has settled on the 2019 Cricket World Cup Final and mum has finally forgiven him for getting “her” Joe out. I can include him in my team. I am sure he will be made up to make my prestigious lineup, especially considering he is having a huge day out at number four and can join Ravi in the military medium department. I won’t lie he seems to go completely under the radar in the field, but mum will be furious that he has made the cut, so well worth it.

5. Glenn Maxwell

Known as the “Big Show” but is effectively the no show when it comes to test cricket, especially with the bat. However, he really lives up to the name when it comes to his fielding prowess. An absolute gun at backward point and even chucks a few offies down when Tim Paine fancies a challenge.

If only Maxwell could bring this flair with the bat to a Test Match!

6. Ravi Bopara

A T20 Cricket World cup legend you say? I say, a low test average, bats in the middle order, bowls military medium and throws himself about in the field. I know Collingwood modelled himself on me, but Ravi isn’t far off either. Plus, he is my mum's favourite player and I don’t want to upset her by leaving him out.

7. Jos Buttler (wk)

Despite losing the gloves and slipping down the order to 7 during the ashes (what faith the England cricket selectors showed), he still managed to occupy the short leg and silly point region for most of the series. Sounds like specialist fielder material to me. You will even get the gloves in my cricket team Jos, what’s not to like?

8. The Specialist Fielder

Divorced. Hopefully my selection will go a long way to winning the wife back. She promised if I ever scored more than 27, she would at least consider it. I’ve only played every game for the last 20 years; I’ve definitely got a low-30s in my locker.

9. Suresh Raina

Described by Jonty Rhodes as the best fielder in the world and if Jonty says it, it must be true. Who knows, maybe one day he will eclipse the great man and go on to inspire the next generation of specialist fielders. We can only hope.

10. Chris Jordan

The T20 all star known for his outrageous bucket hands. That being said, with only 8 tests to his name and a certain friend of his rather stealing the limelight it doesn’t look like that will be improving anytime soon!

11. Phil Tufnell

Affectionately known as “The cat” and often found lingering in my favourite position, square leg. Where captains have been known to hide the odd player. However, that stereotype can’t be levelled at Tuffers and I. Not just a specialist fielder, a specialist square leg.

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