I’ve watched this catch 100 times and still cannot fathom how impossible it was.
Pakistan’s Abdullah Shafique pulled off a catch that’s not just legendary when it comes to cricket, it might be one of the greatest catches of all time regardless of sport. Seriously.
I know it’s not the flashiest thing in the world, but think for a second about everything that’s happening in this moment. Firstly, Shafique is fielding in the Short Leg, the closest position to the batter a fielder can be. He has almost no reaction time to the ball coming off the bat.
Secondly, he’s wrong-footed. Shafique is expecting the ball to carry off the bat to his left, before realizing it’s going all the way to his right. So you take the already limited reaction time he has, then multiply the difficulty exponentially.
Then he has to commit, basically blindly hoping he can even get a hand on the ball. He only gets his fingertips on it, and still manages to wrench it in, mid-dive and keep possession. This is bare-handed, and a cricket ball is denser than a baseball.
This is one of those sporting moments that seems utterly fake. The complexity required for a catch like this is unparalleled. What a moment.