Rahul Dravid gets the catches record
Predicting events in cricket
can make you look like a bit of a goose. Think about a pitch report analysis offered by the TV commentary team at the start of play. The 'expert' tends to think that what they're saying makes a reasonable amount of sense and have a fair amount of confidence in the prediction succeeding. Us, gullible viewers, fall hook, line and sinker. But like we've seen, "experts" who declare pitches as having something in it for the bowlers look so sheepish (although they're never questioned on their judgement!) when the score reads 340/2 at stumps or when a pitch pronounced a "batting beauty" produces a first innings score of 201 all out in a ODI game.
Over 4.5 years ago, I made a prediction on this blog, that Dravid would have the world record for most catches by a fielder
by the time he retired.
I am willing to stick my neck out and say that that he would have the world record when he hangs up his boots, with stiff competition from Fleming. In his last 40 tests, Dravid has taken 61 catches and 33 catches in his last 20 tests. Assuming he plays on till he is 36, which is 4 years away, he'd have played another 40 odd tests which means another 65-70 catches. That'd definitely put him within reach of Mark Waugh's current record of 181. It is certainly not an impossibility.
Today, Dravid caught Tim McIntosh to go past Mark Waugh's record
. You could say it was so bloody obvious that Dravid would get past the record, but I made the call, and you didn't, did you?! :)
Dravid's fielding career can be roughly divided into two phases
. For the first 4-5 years of his test career, he used to primarily stand at short-leg or silly-point and he excelled in those positions. In those first few years, his catches per innings was 0.63. After that, since 2000, it is 0.78. You could attribute it to multiple factors - a better quality bowling lineup, improving his catching technique, more opportunities (since by then Azhar had been shunted out, Tendulkar had moved out of sight
and as captain, Ganguly perhaps felt more comfortable from other positions). But at the same time, VVS Laxman had also started making a mark as a slip fielder, Sehwag too joined in a few years later and over the last couple of years, Tendulkar is back in the slips. So there has been "competition".
The three current players who have a chance are Ricky Ponting (148), Jacques Kallis (147) and Mahela Jayawardene (142). Surprisingly though, Ponting (0.575) and Kallis (0.590) both have rather poor dismissals/innings records. As the youngest among the 3, Mahela is most likely to get past Dravid, considering he averages 0.82 catches an innings in the last 100 innings and he has a lot of opportunities to take catches standing at slip to Murali, Mendis and Vaas. But he'll need to play something like 3-4 to get there (assuming Dravid ends up with ~ 190, that means Mahela needs 48 catches, which would take something like 60 innings in 30 tests across 3.5-4 years) I don't know if that's too likely.
Labels: catching, dravid, fielding, mark waugh, record