No slip catch is ever easy because, generally, the ball gathers momentum as it flies towards the cordon. So what is required to be a top-class slipper? No doubt sharp concentration plays a big role, but a good technique is equally important. Crucial elements include excellent hand-eye coordination, soft hands, and balanced feet that allow for good lateral movement. Above all, a relaxed but sharp mind is key.
Like every other department in cricket, slip fielders need to be specialists. One needs to have a cool and a calm head in order to become a specialist slip fielder. By fielding in the slips, one can also keep a close eye on the proceedings of the game and thus we’ve often seen captains standing in the slip cordon.
Also, the list of the most prolific Test catchers reveals that most of them stood at slip. Here, let’s look at the 10 best slip fielders of all time.
#10 Mahela Jayawardene
The former Sri Lankan skipper was a brilliant slip fielder. Fielding mostly in the first or second slip, Jayawardene has taken the second-highest catches (205) in Tests for a non-keeper and has the highest catches as far as ODIs are concerned (218).
He exhibited immense concentration and skill in the slips. Also, he marshalled his troops pretty well, keeping a close eye on the proceedings as he was Sri Lanka’s captain for quite a few years. For a stat, Mahela Jayawardene has taken the most number of catches in all formats combined (440) for a non-keeper.
#9 Andrew Strauss
Andrew Strauss was one of England’s most successful captains and one of the best opening batsmen. But his slip fielding was up to the mark as well. Fielding at second slip and first slip (after he became captain), it was certain that he would grab almost every chance that came his way.
He has also taken a few blinders in the slip cordon. One such blinder was taken during the 2005 Ashes to dismiss the dangerous Adam Gilchrist. Standing at second slip, Strauss flew across to grab a thick outside edge which went flying towards the vacant third slip area.
Strauss finished his career 121 Test catches – the second most by any England fielder.