#Yearender2017: Nathan Lyon to Hardik Pandya, 12 best catches that made our jaws drop! — WATCH

Cricket is about the fitness of course, but skills are still the biggest asset. But year 2017 saw cricketers taking the art of catching to an all-new league

They say ‘catches win matches’ and that is something we saw throughout 2017. Cricket is about the fitness of course, but skills still are a player’s biggest assets. 2017 saw cricketers taking the art of fielding to all-new levels. Some of them were breathtaking and caught us off-guard and some were good catches because of various reasons.

ALSO READ: Steve Smith left in tears after Australia win Ashes, says ‘wanted to leave my mark as captain’

In this article, we will list out the best catches that were taken in the year 2017.

Shai Hope’s one-handed screamer:
Shai Hope’s unbelievable effort at stopping a flying gully makes it one of the best catches of the year. Hope took a dive to catch the ball. But what makes it even more special is that he is naturally a right-hander and the ball came to his left, yet he managed to get a hold onto it. The wicket was of Neil Wagner. Though West Indies lost the series to New Zealand in their backyard, the catch will remain etched in our memory for years to come.

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it is Nathan Lyon:
In the ongoing Ashes, Nathan Lyon bowled a terrific full-length delivery to Moeen Ali. Ali chipped the ball ever-so-slightly in the air back towards the bowler. Lyon leapt into the air and caught the ball with his outstretched left hand.

Starc on the return:
In the 2nd Ashes Test, Mitchell Starc took an impossible return catch to get rid of Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow was looking to cover the late movement and in the process, chipped one back to Starc. Starc stuck out his right hand and the ball, after hitting his hand, bounced up in the air, giving him ample time to hold on to it on the second attempt. It is one of the best catches of 2017 because Starc took the catch despite being a natural left-hander.

Is that Usain Bolt? No, it’s Hardik Pandya:
During the 1st T20I against New Zealand, Pandya, who was positioned at long-off, sprinted to his right, stretched outright and dived to grab Martin Guptill’s shot with both hands. This catch is a testament to the importance of fitness in modern cricket.

Hardik Pandya's insane brilliance!

Hardik Pandya’s insane brilliance!

Coulter Nile’s surreal follow-through catch:
During a domestic Sheffield Shield match, George Bailey hit a pacy inswinger with punch towards Nathan Coulter-Nile. The ball was coming at a great speed towards the fielder but because of Coulter-Nile’s alertness, he took the catch with sheer brilliance, just inches off the ground.

Manish Pandey’s gets the balancing act right:
So Pandey takes Peter Handscomb’s catch, lobs it up in the playing area, tips over the ropes and then comes back in the field of play to take the catch. This was a brilliant catch because of the presence of mind the young cricketer showed at long-off during the 3rd ODI against Australia.

Big Show’s leap of faith:
During the 1st ODI against Australia at Chennai, Nathan Coulter-Nile bowled a touch wide of the off-stump and teased Kohli into playing a half-hearted shot. Kohli fell for the bate and there was Glenn Maxwell to the point region who grasped it out of thin air and with one hand. Virat Kohli got out for a duck and at that stage, India was tottering at 11 for 3.

Stokes’ supernatural special:
Ben Stokes is reckoned as one of the best all-rounders in the game. He also was the highest paid foreign player in the IPL and he proved his money’s worth when he took an unbelievable catch to dismiss Mohammed Shami. Shami’s shot had almost crossed the boundary but then Ben Stokes appeared out of nowhere and attempted to catch it. Realising that he was going over the ropes, he threw the ball back into the air, crossed the rope, came back into the field and took that impossible catch.

The timing. The stretch. The catch. MSD Classic:
Though he is in the twilight of his career, MS Dhoni has time and again proved why he can’t yet be written off. During the 2017 IPL, MS Dhoni claimed a stunner while standing behind the stumps to dismiss the dangerous Marlon Samuels (27 off 21 balls). MS Dhoni stretched all the way and caught hold of the ball with one hand.

ALSO READ: MS Dhoni dives at full stretch to take Thisara Perera’s catch, almost injures himself — WATCH

You hit, I catch – Unadkat says ‘Thank you’
Sunil Narine was having a torrid time facing Unadkat during the IPL. At one point, he hit the ball straight back to the bowler who on his follow-through and bent low to hold on to the ball. Unadkat reacted within a fraction of a second and that is what makes this catch special.

Trent Boult is known for his magic with the ball and his flamingo-styled batting stance. He displayed a classic catch – diving across the pitch to dismiss West Indian Shimron Hetmyer with one hand. It was a great catch again because it was on his follow-through, which is tough for a bowler.

Virat’s inches-off-the-ground screamer:
During the IPL, Rahul Tripathi played an uppish cover-drive which found its way to Kohli. It was travelling to Kohli’s left and the right-handed batsman displayed agility and caught the fast-moving ball just inches off the ground.

Going by what transpired in 2017, it is certain that we are in for an exciting 2018 when it comes to creative fielding and jaw-dropping catches.