There has been talk about the Indian team’s fielding standards going up some notches in recent times. Let us have a look at this new Indian fielding outfit.
It particularly annoys me when I hear my fellow Indians note down Indian team as being lazy. They say “it’s Indian blood”. The conceited nature of the comment is funny. For all those people, including Nasser Hussain, we have some bad news for you. The “donkeys” have their muscles pumping out and canines all grown.
The ICC’s change of field restriction rules allowing just three fielders outside the 30 yard circle during the batting powerplay and a maximum of four in the non-powerplay overs means hard work for the fielders, especially for a team which relies a lot on their spinnners to hop-on in the middle overs.
The fielders need to back their bowlers to cut off the boundaries and make the batsmen work harder for their runs. The new Indian outfit looks an impeccable one with the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, and Virat Kohli. Not to forget that India has produced some spectacular individual fielders over the years, but to have an impact on the game you need some collective work.
Batsmen do tend to keep an eye on the weaker links in the team and take them on to put some additional pressure on them. M. S. Dhoni with this current outfit has his job cut out as most of the fielders are good at fielding at almost any fielding position. Barring the lanky pacer Ishant Sharma, who hasn’t been very swift, most have shown great flexibility.
Captain Cool has assigned roles to fielders that they are comfortable with. R Ashwin, who isn’t very swift either, has turned into a great slip fielder and has been regular in the slip position, stepping into Virender Sehwag’s shoes. Jadeja has turned out to be India’s swiftest fielder. With his sharp throw (and the fact that he is a left-hander gives him additional advantage to save some crucial runs at point), he has saved a lot of runs and caused run-outs at crucial stages. On the other hand, Raina and Kohli can be seen all over the field. They are sharp, swift, and have got the safest pair of hands.
We have seen Dhoni generally modest about the team’s achievements in his post match comments, but to see him call India the best fielding unit repeatedly during the Champions Trophy was amusing indeed. The great thing about the standards set by the current Indian unit is the revolution in fielding standards that it will cause in the country. It might just become a must for selection into the team. India’s fielding coach was quoted as saying that the players have been enjoying their fielding drills, which is very pleasing to hear.