Catching is one aspect of cricket that needs immense training to perfect. The more a cricketer trains, the more confident he/she becomes in taking tough catches in crunch situations.
However, misunderstanding with a teammate and other reasons beyond a fielder's control may give rise to situations that produce funny catch drops. Time and again we have seen even the best fielders in the game drop sitters. Some even script a comedy of errors while trying to latch on to a regulation catch.
On that note, let us look at the ten funniest dropped catches in cricket history.
Note: The list is in no particular order.
1. Mike Gatting versus India (1993)
England's explosive batsman Mike Gatting became the focus of attention for hilarious reasons when he dropped one of the easiest catches standing at the silly point region in the Chennai Test in 1993.
Kiran More, who seemed uncomfortable facing leg-spin, was taken by surprise when an Ian Salisbury ball bounced off the rough and hit his glove. As the edge went up in the air, Gatting had a regulation catch to complete at silly-point. However, he took the offer too lightly and dropped a sitter to everyone's surprise. He was later seen looking at the sun, signalling that light might have played a role in the catch getting dropped.
2. Kiran More versus England (1990)
Commentator Richie Benaud’s reaction of "Oh dear.." was quite an indication of things to follow. Kiran More dropped Graham Gooch on an individual score of 36 off the bowling of Sanjeev Sharma in the Lord's Test in 1990. A simple and straightforward regulation catch for a wicket-keeper was spilt as Gooch piled on the misery, scoring 333 runs in that Test.
The manner More dropped the catch was inexplicable. As the ball kept a bit low on him towards his right side, a lazy and complacent More didn't crouch enough and the ball slipped off his fingers. He even blamed the lateral movement in England conditions for his inexplicable miss. However, the wobbly nature of the conditions had little to do with the catch being dropped.
3. Saed Ajmal versus West Indies (2008)
Former Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal was quite a handful when it came down to his mystery deliveries. On the contrary, his fielding qualities weren't up to the mark. There have been quite a few instances that have raised eyebrows in the past.
One such instance was in an ODI in 2008 between West Indies and Pakistan where Chris Gayle was gifted a life after Ajmal, hilariously, backed out of a catch. As the tourists needed 274 runs to win from their allotted 50 overs, Gayle scooped up a high catch in the sixth over only to see it get dropped between Shoaib Malik and Saeed Ajmal.
Ajmal had called for the catch and decided to let Malik take it right at the end, culminating in a comedy of errors.
4. Herschelle Gibbs versus Australia (1999)
In one of the best cases of premature celebrations gone wrong, Herschelle Gibbs caught Steve Waugh but lost control of the ball while trying to throw the ball up in excitement.
Steve Waugh, who was dropped while batting on 56, went on to score 101* off 134 balls in a must-win game for Australia in a Super Sixes game in the 1999 World Cup. The Australian captain pulverised the Proteas bowling attack with aggressive strokeplay.
Replays showed clearly that it wasn't the case of butter-fingers from Gibbs' side but a case of early celebration going wrong.
5. Salman Butt versus New Zealand (2009)
How often does the same Test match or series offer two or more different and hilarious instances to make it to a funny list? Salman Butt provided us with a funny as well as a notorious miss that did not go well with the commentators as well.
In the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington in 2009, Mohammad Asif forced an inside edge off opener Daniel Flynn at short leg that was shockingly dropped by Salman Butt after numerous re-attempts to catch the ball. In what seemed like a simple grab, Butt made a mockery of the regulation catch.
6. Joe Denly versus New Zealand (2019)
England's Joe Denly came up with a dropped catch that was so ridiculous that it could easily be deemed as one of the simplest and funniest drops ever in cricket history.
In the rain-hit second Test match in 2019, Denly dropped New Zealand captain Kane Williamson at an individual score of 62 off Jofra Archer's bowling.
Williamson, who completed his 21st century later, chipped a knuckleball towards Denly at short mid-wicket region only to see it being casually dropped by the Englishmen to everyone's surprise. Even his second attempt to grab the ball was excruciatingly lazy and something that attracted immediate attention.
Jofra Archer was left smiling at the incident as his premature celebrations came to a hilarious end.
7. Michael Hussey versus South Africa (2008)
High catches can be extremely tricky. Judging them right can be a task in itself during a crunch situation. Fielders tend to make difficult catches look rather simple, but on certain occasions, even the best of them do commit blunders.
Something similar happened with Mr. Cricket, Michael Hussey, in a home Test against South Africa in 2008-09. The stylish left-hander who was a spark in the field, misjudged a skier off the bowling of off-spinner Nathan Hauritz and handed a life to Dale Steyn. In a horrible misjudgement of sorts, Hussey was left at least a couple of yards short from where the ball landed.
Hussey later looked upwards, signalling that the sun might have played a part in one of the most embarrassing moments of his career.
8. Umar Akmal versus West Indies
In an ODI between West Indies and Pakistan played in the Caribbean, Darren Sammy got a much-needed second life when Saeed Ajmal and Umar Akmal combined to script a memorable funny missed catch.
As the batsman scooped the ball in the air, Ajmal went for a caught-and-bowled chance when Akmal came running from behind the stumps and assisted in a shocking drop that raised many eyebrows in the cricketing world.
However, the dropped catch brought a smile to every West Indies supporter in the crowd and made it to our list of one of the funniest drops ever.
9. Steve Waugh versus India
In what has been described as one of the most hilarious reactions to a dropped catch, Allan Border went to the ground on seeing Steve Waugh drop Sachin Tendulkar off his own bowling.
Waugh bowled a short of a good length ball that Tendulkar tried to hook on the on-side. However, the ball got big on the batsman who eventually scooped it up in the air for a simple caught-and-bowled chance.
As commentator Tony Greig was confident of the catch being taken, Waugh fumbled and put down a dolly to everyone's surprise.
10. Michael Vaughan versus Australia (2002)
Australia opener Mathew Hayden lifted a ball over the cover region during an Ashes Test in Australia in 2002, with the score reading 286 for one in the first innings.
England's Michael Vaughan ran forward and tried to catch the ball in the Australian style, with the fingers pointing towards the sky.
However, he failed miserably and dropped the catch to become the subject of mockery in front of a harsh Aussie crowd while the batsman smiled in surprise.