Top 10 accidental assist catches in cricket
- A list of 10 instances of accidental assist catches in cricket history.
- English, Australian and Indian players feature prominently in the list.
There have been instances in cricket when catches have been fumbled hilariously and dropped.
But there have also been occurrences when a chain of events or lucky deflections resulted in bizarre 'assisted' catches. This type of catch is not uncommon in cricket history and does not contravene the laws of the game.
On that note, let us take a look at the top 10 accidental assist catches in cricket history.
Note: The list is in no particular order.
Top 10 accidental assist catches in cricket history
#1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka) - 2006
In an ODI in 2006 between Sri Lanka and Australia, Andrew Symond's weird and unlucky dismissal became an instant highlight of the match.
The Aussie all-rounder played a confident-looking forward drive off Jehan Mubarak’s bowling. However, the ball hit Michael Clarke who was standing at the non-striker's end and deflected towards Tillakaratne Dilshan at short midwicket for a simple catch.
Unknowingly, Clarke played a vital role in his partner's dismissal, with Australia sitting pretty at 238 runs for four wickets inside 40 overs.
#2 Geraint Jones (England) - 2005
England's Shaun Udal dismissed Pakistan opener Salman Butt in the Multan Test in a very hilarious manner.
Butt, who was batting on 74 runs off 183 balls, edged an overpitched delivery to Marcus Trescothick while attempting a cover drive. However, Trescothick who couldn't handle the pace on the ball, deflected the ball off his forehead towards keeper Geraint Jones. Jones took a brilliant diving catch to dismiss a dangerous-looking Butt.
Butt returned to score a terrific hundred (122) in the second innings to help Pakistan win by 22 runs.
#3 Cameron White (Melbourne Stars) - 2015
During a BBL 04 game between Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers in 2014-15, former England captain Kevin Pietersen gave an accidental catch assist to Cameron White. Pietersen's catching assist was gleefully accepted with open hands by the former Australian T20 captain.
The instance occurred when Sydney Sixers’ batsman Nic Maddinson scooped up a John Hastings delivery in the air while trying to overhaul a target of 20 in the Super Over.
#4 Jack Russell (England) - 1996
The third Test of India's tour of England in 1996 showcased batting masterclasses of Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain. The trio made the bowlers look ordinary on a batting-friendly deck at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
However, one incident that makes cricket fans chuckle was the unique dismissal of opener Nayan Mongia. Coming out to bat alongside Vikram Rathore, Mongia found it difficult to get going against a spirited English attack.
On nine, Mongia edged a Chris Lewis ball towards Graeme Hick at second slip. However, the fielder failed to hold on to the opportunity and scooped the ball in the air. Keeper Jack Russell kept his cool to grab the second chance and play a part in the fall of the first wicket for India.
#5 Jacques Kallis (South Africa) - 2002
The 12th match of the VB series between Australia and South Africa in 2002 saw a funny incident that led to Mark Waugh's departure back to the pavilion.
Australia were cruising after a good start that saw them score more than 75 runs inside the first 14 overs. However, with Adam Gilchrist gone, Waugh took up the mantle to score at a brisk rate.
However, his attempt to hit Allan Donald out of the park went wrong as he edged a high-rising ball off the WACA deck towards keeper Mark Boucher. Although the keeper fumbled it , Jacques Kallis proved to be the saviour in the slip cordon and took the rebound comfortably.
Australia went on to eventually win the match by 33 runs.
#6 Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) - 2012
The 2012 Asia Cup saw Sahid Afridi lose his wicket in the most bizarre and unfathomable way possible.
With his team struggling at 192 for 5, Afridi had an uphill task when he joined Misbah-ul-Haq at the crease. Bangladesh bowlers, especially Shakib Al Hasan, bowled tight lines and lengths to make it difficult for the Pakistan batsman to score freely.
Afridi tried to snatch a single by playing in the 'V' position but scooped up a gift catch to Shakib Al Hasan instead. Despite being a regulation caught and bowled take, the bowler fumbled twice before the ball ricocheted off the non-striker to fall in Shakib's grab eventually.
#7 Adam Gilchrist (Australia) - 2005
The third Test of the historic 2005 Ashes series played in Manchester gave us a memorable moment to hold on to as cricket fans. With the series level at 1-1, both teams were fighting with equal intensity for a crucial lead in the series.
After the early wicket of Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick put on a partnership to rebuild the English innings. However, Trescothick bowed out in a bizarre turn of events that saw keeper Adam Gilchrist take a phenomenal rebound catch off short-leg fielder Matthew Hayden's body.
In the process, Shane Warne celebrated his 600th scalp in Test cricket courtesy some freaky events that occurred in the field.
#8 Graham Gooch (England) - 1986
The historic 1986 tour of England is inked in the memory of all Indian cricket fans as World Champions India walked away with a 2-0 Test series win. Although a whitewash was on the cards, England secured a draw to save themselves the ignominy.
During the series, England all-rounder Graham Gooch proved to be an asset because of his all-round skills along with his sparkling slip fielding.
However, he is still remembered for his infamous rebound catch that saw him juggle the bowl twice, before forcing a diving keeper, Bruce French, to bend down for the ball. The comedy of errors along with some agile footwork helped Gooch eventually catch the ball.
#9 Shahbaz Nadeem (India) - 2019
Shahbaz Nadeem was handed a Test debut at his home ground in Ranchi in the third match of the 2019 series against South Africa. India played with a stamp of authority and mesmerised the visitors with all-round batting and bowling displays.
Following on, South Africa were reduced to 133 runs for nine wickets when Shahbaz Nadeem was called to bowl at the tailenders. Pacer Lungi Ngidi hit a wide off-stump delivery that ricocheted off the non-striker Anrich Nortje straight towards Nadeem who took a comfortable caught-and-bowled chance.
#10 Cheteshwar Pujara (India) - 2019
In the historic day-night Test match played with the pink ball in 2019, India defeated Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. In a one-sided affair, the home team shone with their brilliance and teamwork.
As Bangladesh were reduced to 106 runs for nine wickets, Mohammad Shami bowled a ripper to Abu Jayed. The ball induced an edge off Jayed and flew towards Rohit Sharma in the slip cordon.
However, Sharma popped the ball up in the air after failing to take the catch cleanly. Regardless of the fumble, Cheteshwar Pujara showed admirable awareness to hold the second chance and end Bangladesh's first innings at the same score.