Pakistan cricket team has never been known for players’ fielding skills and with the ever-increasing importance of fielding in the modern game, the Men in Green need to constantly keep improving in this department.
The Green Shirts have never been blessed with top-class fielders but the trend is changing with much more emphasis being put into this particular department. The emergence of Shadab Khan, Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi, and Fakhar Zaman, all of whom are regarded as brilliant fielders, has surely brought around a massive change in the way fielding is perceived in this part of the world.
While Pakistan has not seen a lot of gun fielders, there have been a few players throughout their cricketing history who can be regarded as top-class fielders. Let’s have a look at the top five fielders to don Green Jersey:
The swashbuckling opener was a breath of fresh air when he broke into the side back in 1999. While Imran’s batting prowess is well known around the globe, his fielding brought a much-needed change to an otherwise poor fielding unit.
Imran was regarded as one of the finest fielders in world cricket in an around the point and gully area. His catching ability was next to none and the fiery character backed up the good bowling of his side by saving crucial runs for the team.
Imran Nazir is highly regarded as one of the finest fielders in Pakistan cricket history and will go down as one of the better fielders to grace the game.
Imran took 26 catches in ODIs and 11 catches in T20Is in his short but storied international career.
Shadab Khan is an integral part of the national team’s limited-overs setup. The exciting all-rounder is described as a ‘4-dimensional’ player with exceptional bowling, batting, fielding, and leadership skills.
The 23-year-old has witnessed a meteoric rise ever since his international debut in 2017. While his batting and bowling skills have been hugely appreciated, his fielding skills have been immaculate as well.
Shadab’s ability to read the game and perfect positioning to take catches is what makes him one of the most exciting fielders in world cricket. There are few players in world cricket who are better than him on the field and if he manages to keep his fitness in check, he has the potential to be right at the top of the ladder.
Pakistan’s limited-overs vice-captain has a safe pair of hands and is lightning quick on the field. He has taken 36 catches already in his short international career so far and will take many more in the years to come.
Pakistan’s veteran all-rounder is as safe a fielder at 40 years of age as he was when he broke into the side at the age of 19. With exceptional fitness standards and the ability to read the situation, Malik is a fitness role model for young cricketers.
The experienced all-rounder is lightning quick as a boundary rider and has one of the safest pairs of hands in international cricket. Malik exudes calmness while on the field and there is little to no doubt that the catch will be taken when he is underneath the ball.
Such is the caliber of Malik in the field that he is still regarded as one of the top fielders in Pakistan cricket. There are few players in world cricket who hat can match the energy of Malik in the field.
Malik has the most number of catches for the Men in Green in T20Is while he is fourth on the list in ODIs. With over 150 catches in international cricket, Malik will go down as probably the finest fielders Pakistan has ever produced.
While age might have caught up with him, Fawad Alam was as quick and as agile as any fielder in world cricket during his prime years. The unorthodox middle-order batter might have caught the attention of the cricketing fraternity for his unusual stance but his astonishing fielding ability is what brought him into the national set-up initially.
Fawad made his international debut back in 2007 and was considered a bit-part player during his initial run in international cricket. While Pakistan did not utilize him in the batting and bowling department as much as he would have liked, his main role in the team was as a fielder.
His magnificent catching ability and accurate throws made him one of the best fielders on the planet in the early part of his career. While Pakistan’s batting unit did suffer a bit due to his exclusion from the national side for almost a decade, the fielding unit certainly missed his enthusiasm.
Despite his amazing fielding ability, Fawad has taken less than 30 catches in international cricket.
In an era when fielding was not considered as important as the other two departments, Ijaz was an anomaly. Despite not being as fit as the other players on the list, Ijaz held his own on the cricket field. His unusual batting stance too grabbed the attention early on but he quickly put that to rest with tremendous performances with the bat and on the field.
Ijaz was usually placed inside the circle at the square position and mid-on early on in his career before being put into the key position of point and gully. His magnificent work on the field made him one of the finest fielders Pakistan has ever produced.
The 53-year-old represented the Men in Green in 60 Tests and 250 ODIs in a career spanning more than 15 years. He took 135 catches in international cricket before hanging up his boots in 2001.
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