Despite the evolving face of cricket where speed and time have taken the front seat pushing back the longest format of the sport under the wraps of decadence, ICC played a masterstroke by introducing the World Test Championship.
Now with the focus back to Test cricket, a lot of lost arts are being revived and one of the most difficult ones in red-ball cricket is the craft of slip catching. With very limited time for one’s reflex to kick in, only the most active fielders are being placed in the slip cordon.
When you are fielding in the slip, not only will you have to battle the persistent ache in your legs for continuously being rooted to the same spot but even a single moment of lax in concentration can cost you the match.
The entire process involves an enduring procedure but all of it must come within the flash of an eye. Despite India recently skyrocketing their fielding by leaps and bounds, in the initial decade of the 21st century, things weren’t as slick as it is now.
It needed the best of fielders to be a part of the slip cordon and they have bequeathed a legacy so massive that now India can fall back on it and reflect in case if things go wrong.
In this story, we will be taking a glance at five of India’s best slip fielders in Test cricket.
#1 Rahul Dravid
Needless to say but the wall was also one of the most eminent catchers in the slip position. Spanning from insane diving catches to brilliant recoveries in order to keep the ball afloat from being grassed, Dravid pulled it off all.
From 164 matches that saw him fielding in 301 innings, Dravid captured 210 catches which is the highest by any fielder in the longest format of the sport. Also, a lion’s share of the same came in the slip position. Gifted with the eyes of a hawk and reflexes as fast as lightning, Dravid hardly dropped anything that came his way.
#2 VVS Laxman
Very very special Laxman used to shuffle between the slip and silly point at times but his predominance came alongside the wicket-keeper in the longest format of the game. His most iconic stint of slip fielding came in England and Australia, where his height was a crucial factor in him bagging those high catches.
He has featured in a total of 134 matches that has seen him grabbing 135 catches at an average of 0.68 catches per innings. Not only was he known for his extraordinary batting but in times of severe exigency, Laxman came to the deliverance of Team India even with the ball in his arm.
#3 Mohammad Azharuddin
Like Laxman, he used to rotate himself or get rotated between the silly point, the leg slip and the slip cordon. The man who defined elegance with a growing blend of aggression and fluidity, Azharuddin was an equally brilliant fielder in the slip.
While playing for India in Test matches, he featured in 99 Tests from which he managed to grab 105 catches at a decent average of 0.59 catches per innings. The highest number of catches that he chronicled in an innings was five.
#4 Ajinkya Rahane
Other than being a pillar of reliability for Indian cricket in the longest format of the game, Rahane is also an exceptional slip-fielder. An agile customer in the middle, the right-handed batsman is one of the fastest reactors that you would see in international cricket these days.
So far being a part of 72 Tests, Rahane has fielded in 142 innings with 96 catches bagged in his kitty that reads a fine average of 0.67 catches per innings. Another Indian cricketer who has got aquiline eyesight, Rahane’s reflexes are equally razor-sharp.
#5 Virat Kohli
The Indian skipper has been one of India’s best and most reliable hands in any format of the sport that he has been a part of. A man whose skillset boasts about an extra-terrestrial brand of working ethics, Kohli’s acrobatic abilities in the slip position are very commendable.
However, Kohli can be seen in any part of the field at any point in time. However, his quick reflexes also make him an intense slip-fielder. He has so far managed to bag 90 catches from 92 Test matches at an average of 0.51 catches per innings.