Abhay Sharma- The torchbearer of India’s fielding future
It can effortlessly be said that India’s ambition to be regarded as a quality-fielding side lies in Sharma’s safe hands.
Published - Jan 28, 2018 12:05 am | Updated - Jan 28, 2018 10:36 am
‘A run saved is a run scored’ and ‘catches win matches’- a couple of adages coughed up by pundits and analysts from the cricketing fraternity. Rightly so, as they can create differences between ecstasy and agony for a team at the end of a contest.
The India Under-19 team is currently plying their trade in New Zealand for the prestigious World Cup and have shown excellence in all departments of the game. While their batting has been flawless, the bowlers have dictated terms in all their four games in the tournament. However, the performance can be termed complete with their strength in a couple of additional aspects, which often tends to get overshadowed- fielding and catching.
The Boys in Blue have simply been outstanding on the field and have hardly grassed any opportunities. They have been on their toes from the outset and never let complacency sneak in. The boys have taken some sharp chances and their fielders have shown agility and expertise to cut down on the runs. Prithvi Shaw’s team has been unbeaten in the tournament and will now take on Pakistan in the semi-final.
The main man behind India’s success
However, there is one man working behind the scenes who has guided the youngsters and injected confidence in them to express themselves on the field. Abhay Sharma, the former cricketer, has been assigned the role of the fielding coach of the Indian junior teams in Rahul Dravid’s reins and he hasn’t disappointed one bit. His experience has rubbed off positively on the team and the results are palpable.
An inquisitive person, Sharma sets high standards and believes that fielding holds prime importance for a side to flourish. In an interview in August 2017, he mentioned about grilling the Under-19 boys into the best bunch of fielders among the current crop of players in their age-group and they have taken giant strides towards their ambition.
Sharma had previously hailed Prithvi Shaw among the best fielders in the team and also showered praises on Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Anukul Roy as impressive outfielders. The likes of Mavi and Nagarkoti has exhibited some sparkling pieces of fielding by inflicting some brilliant run-outs. Meanwhile, they didn’t let their captain and coach down.
Sharma, a stalwart during his playing days, also emphasized the role of fitness in a cricketer’s development. He believes that staying fit rubs off positively on a cricketer which allows a player to throw himself around in the outfield and effect dismissals on a consistent basis. An exemplary wicketkeeper, Sharma also highlighted the role behind the wickets.
A decent performance keeps us motivated and injects buoyancy in us to exceed expectations. A brilliant piece of fielding does a world of good to the confidence of cricketers. They make them eager to perform which translates into their primary role. Sharma has changed the face of Indian fielding with his expertise and invaluable inputs, which has made them a force in this aspect of the game.
Thankless, yet paramount
It’s amazing how we appreciate singers and their songs, but never take time out to read through the composers and lyricists- the real creator of the music. Coaching is somewhat similar, more so when it’s fielding. It’s the fielders who undoubtedly perform and they deserve accolades. However, coaching requires strategising, identifying the shortcomings and then polishing the basics into something great.
Quite rightly, Sharma deserves respect and appreciations for his stupendous efforts to churn out the best out of the fielders. Fielding lends support to a team and without its contributions. Good fielding makes the bowlers believe that there are people around to extend assistance. Sometimes when a bowler dishes out a rank long-hop, a short and wide delivery or a juicy half-volley, fielders throw themselves to save runs or pluck the ball out of thin air.
Team India is a couple of victories away from glory in the ongoing Worl Cup and fielding will again be of prime importance to restrict oppositions. However, Abhay’s inputs will keep the players in good stead ahead of the crunch games. Meanwhile, it can effortlessly be said that India’s ambition to be regarded as a quality-fielding side lies in Sharma’s safe hands.
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