5) Sir Gary Sobers
Gary Sobers was like a prophet Muhammad or Jesus Christ sent to the earth to the game of cricket. He was arguably the greatest Cricketer the game has ever seen. With an attractive atheletic build at 6 feet tall, his trim, nimble body moved with the grace of a bird, so characteristic of West Indians. He had a charming walk, graceful, relaxed, leaning forward bent at the knees, and when he came in to the crease it was reminiscent of an Emperor. Many of his contemporaries has described him as a racehorse when he came onto bowl. He reminded fans of the great racehorse Arkle- perhaps the greatest steeplechaser of all time. While Bradman’s status as the greatest batsman is increasingly under threat, no one raises an eyebrow at Garry Sobers being called the greatest allrounder.
4) MS Dhoni
No cricketing discussion on fitness is complete without our very own MSD – arguably the fittest Indian ever to have played cricket. You may not associate him with those diving efforts on the field like for many of the listed cricketers here, but, the fact that this man is playing non-stop cricket and that too without much of an injury problem goes to show that MSD is fit as a fiddle. Keeping wickets is not an easy job where one has to constantly be on their toes especially in humid Indian climate where MSD plays most of his cricket. To add to that, leading the team in itself is a big drainer. No wonder, he is the ultimate ruler in today’s game, when it comes to fitness.
3) AB de Villiers
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers aka AB de Villiers is a three in 1 package: a great batsman, brilliant wicket-keeper, and a world class fielder. That he can sprint 100 meter in 11 seconds is a mere example of the fitness standards that he sets for himself and others to follow. The grace with which he dives around in the field makes fielding a fun to watch. He makes the toughest of fielding situations look like a child’s play. His diving run-out of Simon Katich in 2006 made people compare him to the God of Fielding – Jonty Rhodes himself.
2) Andrew Symonds
A supremely talented cricketer, one who could change the course of a match single-handed with either bat, ball or in the field.
Andrew Symonds brought passion into whatever he did, whether firing down offbreaks or military medium pace, hurling his ungainly bulk round the field or vigorously ruffling the bowler’s hair at the celebration of a wicket.
However, his off-field attitude continued to be a problem and the last nail in the coffin came when he went fishing in Darwin when he should have been at a team meeting in the lead-up to an ODI series against Bangladesh. Symonds was sent home from the series and not picked for the tour of India in late 2008, but cricket lovers across the world hope will never forget this controversial and the fittest Aussie cricketer of our generation.
1) Jonty Rhodes
Before the 1990s, cricketers concentrated only on two aspects of cricket – Batting and bowling. But, a freak from South Africa changed the way game was played. He could change the course of a match single-handedly with his fielding.
The indifferent attitude of the players towards fielding was at its peak especially in the subcontinent. However, it was all changed on March 8, 1992, during a World Cup match between South Africa and Pakistan at Brisbane, when a green shadow with the ball and crashed into the stumps to run out Inzamam-ul-Haq. The legend of Jonty Rhodes was born on this day.
“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Jonty!” screamed out a newspaper next morning. It was a breakthrough moment for the diminutive Rhodes, who was playing in his first tournament. As it turned out, it wasn’t a one-off show; Rhodes produced many such Superman antics on the field that soon earned him a reputation for purely his fielding. He dived, he leaped, he lunged, he defied gravity while patrolling the point region throughout his career. He wasn’t the tallest of blokes on the ground, but his athleticism and his agility ensured that he more than makes up for his hieght.
A report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showed that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the ninth highest number of run outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the third highest success rate. Rhodes also represented South Africa at hockey.