The Jason Roy catch: Has any wicket in the history of cricket featured a greater gulf in quality between bowling and fielding?

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Jason Roy catch (via YouTube)

The Bangladesh Premier League doesn’t allow anyone from outside Bangladesh to watch the highlights online because we’ve no idea why they don’t allow that. What are they hoping we’ll do? Pay for flights to Bangladesh?

Fortunately, you can find grainy footage of Jason Roy’s catch for Sylhet Sixers against Chittagong Vikings on social media. It is notable for two reasons.

The first reason is that it was an amazing catch. The second reason is the delivery off which the catch was taken.


A friend of ours still slips into a misty-eyed reverie at the memory of one particular piece of Mike Atherton commentary. It wasn’t particularly insightful; it just summed up a moment perfectly.

The bowler sent one down the leg-side for byes and after a perfectly-timed pause to allow the viewer to take this in, Athers muttered in disgust: “Well that’s just filth.”

You could tell he meant it.

Alok Kapali’s delivery was pure filth. It was the kind of long hop that can only ever be described as ‘rank’. Bowling at under 100km/h, he pitched the ball in his own half.

Yasir Ali duly slogged it miles, right towards the boundary, nowhere near a human fielder, but in the vague direction of the Superman/Inspector Gadget hybrid that is Jason Roy.

Roy sprinted, leapt like a crested salmon and then extended a telescopic arm to grab the ball as it attempted to pass him at the speed of a comet.

Jason Roy took the exact catch you fantasised about when you were a kid and he did it off a delivery that was pure filth.

The chasm in quality

Has there ever been a greater contrast between the quality of the ball bowled and the quality of the fielding that resulted in a wicket? We’d argue not.

Roy’s catch was basically unimprovable, so you’d need to find a wicket taken off a worse delivery for a start.

Mohammad Ashraful once dismissed AB de Villiers off a ball that bounced twice, but it wasn’t much of a catch. We can also think of occasions when someone’s been stumped off a leg-side wide – but again that sort of fielding’s really not in the same league as Roy’s.

Yasir Ali, caught Jason Roy, bowled Alok Kapali was the wicket with the greatest gulf in quality between bowling and fielding.


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  1. Is that even a legal delivery?

    Top stuff from Roy, full marks for being airborne, and bonus points for having to be careful about the landing given the proximity to the boundary, although he loses a few marks against some of the Collingwood/Strauss/etc efforts that are endlessly replayed on TV for all this being in a game that almost no-one outside of Bangladesh even knew was taking place.

    I can’t remember if there were ever any spectacular catches taken off my “bowling” in street cricket in Fallowfield, but if so the chasm in class may have been similar.

  2. I hope with this win we’re witnessing a Windies resurgence but my strong sinking suspicion’s it’s just as much to do with England engaging in a desurgence.

  3. I’m trying to find something imperfect with the catch.

    From the footage on youtube then I’m not 100% sure that his elbow doesn’t brush the boundary “rope”. The footage stops just before showing it on each of the angles that would mean something. This seems suspicious to me.

    In answer to the question in the article, there was a greater gulf in the only wicket that I ever took. It was a dolly of the catch but it was so bad a delivery that the batsman only attempted to hit it to stop the over going on for eternity via wides and the one day game being called off for bad light halfway through the opening innings.

    1. Never mind the possible boundary – what I kept thinking each time I watched that was “how the hell did he not injure himself?” – JRoy lands with the hands down, an instinctive reaction for most people in a fall, but also (as anyone who’s done martial arts will tell you) a very good way to break one or both of your wrists. Given that one of those hands is also holding a cricket ball, it looks (to me) worse every time I see it. I keep expecting a comminuted fracture to ensue.

      As for your point, you may well be right. Perhaps the catch was thought to be so good that nobody wanted to spoil it by checking the rope…

  4. What’s the official distinction between filth and shod?

    I would suggest filth is when a proper bowler produces a pie like this one; see also: first ball of Ashes 2006/07; Graeme Swann’s full toss that hit ‘Buckie’ Rogers on the arse and saw him given LBW?

    Shod, on the other hand, is when a non-proper-bowler turns his arm over, e.g. Alastair Cook, round-arm thereof.

    Both are hilarious and an essential part of quality cricket but the latter far more heart-warming.

    1. Special mention to Scott Boswell in the 2001 C&G trophy final. That somehow managed to be filth and shod at the same time!

      1. I remember watching that live on TV. It was just thrillingly horrific… literally watching the poor bastard’s career unravelling before my very eyes. Cos it was pretty obvious even at the time that it wasn’t something he could just bounce back from

    2. Yeah, shod is shod even if it’s the right line and length. Filth is poor execution. Shod is more fundamentally shit.

  5. I feel it is my duty to inform your majesty that the BPL is officially streamed on youtube by “Rabbitholebd Sports”, that also provide high quality highlights.

      1. Oh, it seems to be regionblocked in a browser.

        The youtube app on mobile devices plays all the highlight videos without any fuss.

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